I planned to get to grips with this blogging Mama malarkey a bit quicker than this but I have a good excuse… PUPPP… not heard of it? Neither had I.
In short here is a explanation I’ve taken from skinsight.com…
Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) is the most common skin condition of pregnancy. Typically, women affected by PUPPP develop red, itchy bumps on the belly near stretch marks (striae) during their third trimester. PUPPP usually gets better within a few weeks after delivery, does not affect the health of your baby, and has no long-term consequences for you.
However I’d be more inclined the explain it quite simply as hell on Earth. According to statistics I can find online it strikes 1 in 200 women, and in 70% of cases these pregnancies are those of ladies having little boys, another tell tale unusual characteristic Is that it leaves a clear ring of unaffected skin around your navel. Weird.
So what’s the script? Basically hives, that itch and burn like the rath of Hedes! I’d gotten a few stretch marks on my tum over the last couple of weeks of pregnancy (& was truly devastated) about 5 days after my section I started scratching… within 2 days my belly was full of red angry welts under the skin in the stretch marks & I was loosing my mind. Slowly but surely they have spread, first too the inside of my knees, calves, thighs and arms (luckily in most cases the face is spared!) not my tummy – images from google
It got so bad last Sunday I ended up in A & E worrying I was seriously ill. Of course the whole time this is progressing I’m googling (initially thinking prickly heat) and the more I reasearched the more I kept coming across this PUPPP (or PEP) as it’s known. I asked Dans Mum for advice (she’s a midwife) & she hadn’t EVER come across the condition & neither had 2 GPs she asked.
So here’s a round up of what I have done to try and sooth the itch & rid myself of the unsightly rash and if it ever strikes for you I hope something might help. I have rated each thing out of 10 for effectiveness.
1. Oatbath – 2/10, this is done by filling a sock with oats and tossing it into a hot bath allowing the water to become milky colour then soaking for 20 mins. I didn’t find this helpful with the itching after but the bath was a welcome distraction just don’t have it too hot.
2. Lavender oil – 1/10 again add a few drops to a warm bath and soak. Alternatively you can apply directly to the skin but I chose not too. I didn’t find it relieved the itch or appearance of the rash but it makes the bath smell good!
3. Oral steriods – 7/10 – these were described by the Dr in A&E, a 5 day course. Day 3 I was starting to crack up but day 4 I felt like we turned a bit of a corner when the welts on my tummy started to go down (maybe just coincidence – maybe not?) also worth pointing out the Dr at the hospital also hasn’t heard of PUPPP & looked at me like an absolute nob head when I suggested it 👌🏻
4. Hydrocortisone cream – 6/10 I found this good for quick relief but I could easily apply a whole tube in one sitting so not very cost effective either.
5. Antihistamines – 3/10 I was so relieved to find out the there were some I could take whilst expressing milk & tried 3 different types however non were the wonder fix I was hoping for. Looking online it seems to be a case of trial and error person to person as to which one will work.
6. Calamine lotion – 0/10 infact it should have a negative score!!!! I felt this only dried my skin more & made it itchier.
7. Aloe Vera jelly – 5/10 this was nice and cool providing a temporary relief & it doesn’t smell too bad.
8. Cool showers – 9/10 this is the best trick along with cold flannels applied to the affected area. Takes the heat out of the rash which takes away the itch.
9. Ice packs – 9/10 again instantly makes it feel better & lasts longer than the shower.
10. Nettle tea – 7/10 I could only get nettle and peppermint in our local Tesco Metro BUT I can honestly say after 2 cups (pretty strong) I felt a bit better.
11. Dandelion root capsules – 9/10 now I can’t be sure but within 3 days of getting them (off trusty old Amazon!) the itching started to subside and the rash reducing… I took two in the morning, one at lunch then 2 more before bed.
12. Grandpas pine soap – 10/10 now this is a god send, again ordered off amamzon and I’ll warn you now it stinks like a campfire – however I just convinced myself that it’s smelled like a candle I once had from Molton Brown. I got in a warm shower then rubbed the soap on my puffy, stepped out of the water and lathered up all over, rinse and repeat 3 times. Then if you can stand it rinse the effected areas with super cold water, then hop out and pat dry.
Other things to consider are all of the showering, lotions & potions are going to seriously dry your skin out and sometimes making the itch worse. To moisturise I used Cussons Mum & Me which didn’t seem to make it any worse.
If you’ve managed to unearth this post in the depths of the Internet & are suffering my advice would be “throw enough shit and something will stick!” Try all of the above, rule things out, reasearch & try some more. My episode has nearly cleared up now after 3 anxious weeks…