Monday, 07 January 2013
It all started with random itching. I thought it was the heat (since I’m in the south at the moment) so I took more showers. That made it WORSE! Finally I went the hospital over it and the nurse looked at me like I was an idiot. A second nurse came in who happened to be pregnant too and she advised me to change my soaps and lotions. During my follow up the next day, the Certified Nurse Midwife told me the same thing but to look out for any bumps because it might be PUPPPs (Pruritic Urticarial Papules & Plaques of Pregnancy).
After that, the itching grew more severe over the holiday, despite using oatmeal lotion & scent free soaps. I tried everything: cocoa butter, plain water, transparent soap, and even stuff made for ECZEMA!! When I went back to the doctor yesterday, she told me it was definitely PUPPPs. I have to take allergy medicine, keep using the cocoa butter soap and oatmeal lotion until I have my baby and possibly even afterwards. If it's not better by my next appointment, they want to do a blood test to check my liver enzymes for ICP (Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy) but they told me not to worry because it definitely presents as PUPPPs.
When it started to spread from its origin point (I’ll get to that in a second), I asked every friend of mine that had a baby in the last decade. Half of them never heard of PUPPPs and the others had heard of it but never got it!! It’s all over me now except for my feet and face. When I researched it, I found out it occurs most commonly in first pregnancies and pregnancies with multiples, and women with high blood pressure. 70% of women with this condition have boys (I found out I was having a boy 2 weeks before the itching started too!).
What made me angry was how dismissive people were! Because this is my first pregnancy, I was told that I’m just nervous, it’s a heat rash, or I just need to "lotion up more." It wasn’t until the rash spread that people see how serious this was. It keeps me up at night, I’m itching 24/7. It makes me break down in tears not only from the constant discomfort but how ugly it looks!! I feel disfigured, unsightly, and I don’t wear anything that shows skin below the neck. My husband tells me it doesn’t bother him, which I love him for, but I cant take it. I’m only just going into 7 months so this will be hell for me until I deliver. All I can do is keep my nails short and keep up the cleaning routine.
If you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, PLEASE keep an eye out for this and don’t let anyone try to tell you it’s nothing. I’m not trying to worry anyone but this seems to be a seldom seen condition according to people I’ve been treated by. I think if I had listened to myself sooner and insisted on them monitoring it, I wouldn’t be so uncomfortable now. PUPPPs start out in stretch marks, usually on the stomach, then spreads to the limbs. The face is spared (thank God for small favors). It’s very itchy, with red bumps and some fluid-filled bumps that resemble tiny blisters.
The best treatments and advice I’ve gotten are these (but see your doctor to make sure you can use these safely):
- Keep showers short and don’t use hot water. It dries out the skin.
- Use unscented everything. Perfumes and other mixes with different plants, herbs and chemicals make skin irritation worse.
- Cocoa butter soap is very soothing and so is Eucerin skin calming dry skin daily body wash.
- Aveeno products have oatmeal in them and it’s very helpful. I use Aveeno Daily moisturizing lotion.
- Cortaid and Benedryl creams work for itching but they aren’t lotion so don’t apply this all over. I lotion up everywhere and put one of these creams on the heavily affected areas, such as the stomach and on my legs.
- A cold wet cloth works for soothing the skin and relieving some of the itching but it’s a short term solution.
- Don’t vigorously scrub, you might irritate your skin more.
- Wear loose cotton everything so your skin can breathe. I personally sleep better without a shirt on at night so I’m cooler. If I feel too hot, it itches worse.
Were you aware of PUPPPs? Did you, or anyone you know have it?