Pregnancy, Health

Itching in Pregnancy and Pregnancy Cholestasis

Itching in Pregnancy and Pregnancy Cholestasis

During pregnancy, various problems will arise in your body. One of them is the itch that will suddenly grab you!

Before you start scratching your hands, feet, and belly, let's find out what itching and pregnancy cholestasis are and why!

What causes itching during pregnancy?

First of all, there are many reasons for these problems that start with belly itch during pregnancy.

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Increase in progesterone and estrogen hormones,
  • Skin stretch marks from pregnancy
  • Skin diseases that occur during pregnancy (such as eczema, and psoriasis),
  • pregnancy cholestasis,
  • Pregnancy urticaria (PUPPP),
  • food allergies,
  • Medication use.

Some of these causes do not cause serious health problems, but problems such as cholestasis and urticaria are problems with the kidneys, gall bladder, or liver. Therefore, it must be treated.

When does itching start during pregnancy?

Itching in the body during pregnancy usually occurs in the first 3 months and decreases over time in the following months. But that doesn't mean you're saved! It is very likely that you will encounter this problem in the last 3 months of your pregnancy!

When does itching go away during pregnancy?

Don't worry, although it may seem like it will never end, this itch usually goes away right after delivery.

In which areas is itching most common during pregnancy?

In this period, itching is especially;

  • Stomach,
  • Hand feet,
  • Vagina,
  • Anus,
  • Breast circumference and below,
  • It occurs in the scalp.

Does an itchy stomach during pregnancy hurt the baby?

No, itching without underlying disease will not harm the baby.

What is good for itching during pregnancy?

If you experience such a situation, you should first see your doctor. Your doctor will understand the cause of itching and apply a treatment method for it. If there is no underlying disease, the treatment of pregnancy itch is quite easy! You can reduce this problem with certain medications and self-care methods.

  • You can moisturize your body with lotions, creams, or oils recommended by your doctor.
  • You can stay away from synthetic materials. These products increase itching. That's why you can choose products made of cotton materials for your clothes and bed linen.
  • You can take a break from using perfumed soaps and shampoos. You can choose oat-based ones.
  • You shouldn't dress too thickly. Excessive heat and sweat can increase the itching sensation.

Is there any herbal treatment for itching during pregnancy?

When it comes to pregnancy, things that used to be good for you can now turn into harmful things. Therefore, it will not be right to apply any herbal method unless your doctor recommends it. However, oats are known to relax and soothe the skin.

If your doctor approves, you can include oats in your diet or lie down for half an hour in warm water with oatmeal.

PUPPP (pruritic urticaria plaques and papules)

Sometimes itching may be accompanied by bumps and red stripes. These itching and spots are usually seen on the navel. In such a case, the problem of PUPPP (pruritic urticaria plaques and papules) usually comes to mind.

The reason for this situation is not known exactly, but it is thought that the excessive stretching of the anterior abdominal wall and the resulting collagens trigger this condition. In addition, gaining excess weight during pregnancy can also cause PUPPP problems.

The treatment of this problem is similar to another itching. The only difference is that the drugs used sometimes contain cortisone!

What is pregnancy cholestasis?

Pregnancy cholestasis is one of the types of itching during pregnancy. However, this problem differs slightly from normal itching. Because the cause of its emergence is related to the liver and gall bladder. Therefore, you may experience jaundice along with cholestasis.

What causes pregnancy cholestasis?

Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Op. Dr. Hüseyin Mutlu says that the biggest reason for this problem is that the increased estrogen hormones during pregnancy narrow the bile ducts and bile acids cannot be discharged from the liver and mixed with the blood. For this reason, the amount of enzymes in the liver increases and causes itching in the body.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy cholestasis?

Those who experience pregnancy cholestasis are faced with the following symptoms, apart from very severe itching in the abdomen, hands, and feet:

  • darkening of urine color,
  • fecal discoloration,
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin,
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.

All these symptoms point to pregnancy cholestasis. However, some tests are required for a definitive diagnosis.

Pregnancy cholestasis does not cause rashes, but the itching is so severe that scratching marks may occur on the body. Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Op. Dr. Hüseyin Mutlu says that most of the women who come to him with these complaints have wounds and scars on their bodies due to severe itching.

How is pregnancy cholestasis diagnosed?

There is no specific pregnancy cholestasis test for this problem! Usually, some tests are done in the direction of the symptoms. Among these tests;

  • Liver function tests,
  • hepatitis tests,
  • Gallbladder ultrasound (Gallbladder stones can also be effective.),
  • There is a measurement of bile acids in the blood. Generally, the bile acid ratio gives the most accurate result. If this rate is high, pregnancy cholestasis can be mentioned.

Is pregnancy cholestasis harmful to the baby?

Yes, unfortunately, pregnancy cholestasis is not as harmless as other types of itching! This issue can cause some of the following problems:

  • Early birth,
  • death in the womb,
  • The baby is deprived of oxygen,
  • liver problems in the baby,
  • Jaundice.

Early diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy cholestasis is vital to prevent these from happening.

How is pregnancy cholestasis treated?

  • Let's see what is good for pregnancy cholestasis itching. You can use itching lotions, creams, and ointments with the recommendation of your doctor. These creams may contain cortisone.
  • You can take medication that will lower the level of bile acids.
  • You can take a vitamin K supplement.
  • You can use drugs called dexamethasone, which allows the baby's liver to mature.
  • You can take a cold bath or drink iced water. This is because it slows down the blood flow in the body.

Is there any herbal treatment for pregnancy cholestasis?

As we mentioned above, it can be dangerous to use herbal remedies for the treatment of some problems, especially during pregnancy. Therefore, we do not recommend using any herbal product for therapeutic purposes without the advice of your doctor.

However, natural substances such as dandelion root and milk bark are known to be good for the liver. If your doctor approves, you can use these substances to alleviate your problem.

Bibliography and Further Reading

  • Healthy Pregnancy Guide- Mayo Clinic Experts
  • What to Expect While You're Expecting Your Baby - Heidi Murkoff

!!! The information contained in this content is in no way a substitute for a doctor's advice. 

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