I’d just like to document my battle with PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) also known as PEP or Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy.
I am 35 weeks as of writing, scratching my arms and legs while I type this. I never would have thought that I would suffer from this rare pregnancy condition. I was 32 weeks when it started in my stretch marks on the abdomen scratching like crazy in the middle of the night. Two days later, I noticed multiple very itchy hives right inside my stretch marks. Then the hives rapidly spread across my hips and bum overnight. I couldn’t stop scratching!
I am not allergic to any food or medicines, but when these hives developed, I thought that there might be some changes in my hormones associated with my pregnancy — that I develop an allergy to something I ate too much — chocolates. So I skipped eating chocolates for the next couples of days to see if it will stop the hives.
How it progress
Well, skipping chocolates didn’t do anything. I was still VERY ITCHY. Next day, there were some changes in the appearance of the hives. They flattened out and became rashes. Not just that. It has spread around my knees and back of my thigh. SO UGLY AND SOOOOO ITCHY. Like I have some kind of eczema or scabies. So disgusting. At least it was confirmed that it wasn’t the chocolate. Am I allergic to my baby?
I looked it up online to see what it was and found out about PUPPPS or PEP. Unfortunately, every article didn’t really have much information about the cause of this condition — unknown and 1 out of 200 pregnant women gets it. So WHY ME? I have suffered enough hip dislocation from this pregnancy and now this!
What my doctor said about it
After more than a week of this self-mortification, even though I already have an idea of what I have which is PUPPS, I decided to see my doctor to see what he’d say about it. He confirmed that it’s PUPPS. He prescribed me Atarax an anti-histamine, hydrocortisone cream for the itch, and triamcinolone cream. I haven’t started triamcinolone cream yet as I have to use hydrocortisone first for 10 days. He also ordered a blood test to make sure that these rashes have nothing to do with my liver. If you are suffering from PUPPS, please consult your doctor too.
Tricks I tried to help with the itch and rashes (aside from the prescribed meds)
Atarax gave me uncomfortable contractions and made me very sleepy. I wasn’t comfortable of the side effects so I stopped taking it after two days. Meanwhile, I use hydrocortisone cream twice a day. It definitely helped with the itchiness but I can only use it twice a day. So what are the other tricks I do to help relieve this addicting itchiness?
- Porridge Soap from Lush Cosmetics. I read from other mothers who suffered from PUPPS that oatmeal relieves the itchiness together with cold shower. The porridge soap from Lush is basically an oatmeal soap. However, I can not tell if it works with my itch and rashes but I love that it lathers well and how moisturizing it is.
- Eucerin Skin Calming Lotion. This lotion is thick and very moisturizing but is absorbed easily by skin. I use this lotion only after shower with the porridge soap. It does relieve itchiness but for an hour only.
- Cold shower. Luke warm water first then slowly switching to cold water. To avoid shock! It’s still cold here in Japan!
- Dickinson’s Witch Hazel. Since I don’t like the icky feeling of putting lotion often throughout the day, I recently found a great alternative for my itchy rashes. Instead of scratching my skin, I rub the witch hazel with a 100% natural cotton pad that is similar to this. Surprisingly, it does work to relieve the itch but only for a short period of time.
In short, here’s my routine.
- Shower with warm water then switch to cold water with porridge soap.
- Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.
- Apply Eucerin lotion all over my body.
- Skin is calm and do not itch for about an hour. I always love this part.
- Rub witch hazel with cotton pad if the itching starts back up again throughout the day.
- Before going to bed, I apply hydrocortisone cream as prescribed by my doctor as it gives long-lasting effect throughout the night. But I only apply it to the most itchy part of my body.
- If I woke up in the middle of the night scratching, I reach for my witch hazel and rub it on my rashes.
Aside from all the temporary remedies I mentioned above, I also ordered Pine Tar Bath and Shower Gel, Sarna Original Anti-Itch Lotion and Dandelion Root Tea. I can’t way to try them. It has been recommended by many mothers who suffered the same condition on baby blogs and forums to relieve the rashes and itchiness from PUPPS.
If you are suffering from PUPPS I hope this diary of mine can help you. I’ll definitely update this blog once I received those products I ordered online and will tell you what they are for, how to use them, and if they are really effective than the products I currently use.