Friday, July 2, 2010

PUPPPS Home Remedies

You guys are going to have to forgive me, but I need to post a public service sort of thing here. As of 23 weeks along into this pregnancy (way freaking early, I might add) the PUPPPS came back. Last time around I developed an allergic reaction to the pregnancy (called PUPPPS), where I found that my belly, legs and arms (mostly my belly) were covered with an itchy rash that was akin to having poison ivy that I enjoyed living with for the last trimester. I researched as hard as I could to find a holistic alternative to taking the mega doses of steroids that the doctor prescribes to treat the condition. I failed miserably, and had no choice but to side with modern medicine.

This time around, knowing what it was and identifying it sooner, I gave the holistic thing a shot, and so far I am doing really well trying some new stuff I didn’t do last time. Posting about it on the blog is important. I did this last time and it has helped in two ways. One, I had it documented so I would know what to do when or if it showed up on the next pregnancy. Two, my fellow itchy moms out there are desperately sitting at their computers ready to scratch their skin off and are googling for this stuff, and I know my past blog posts have come in handy. Ladies, I do this mostly for you, since when we find something that works, we need to share it with each other!

Here’s what I am doing that is working (so far at least!)…


Supplement Dosage Frequency Where to Find It
Flaxseed Oil (or Mercury Free Fish Oil – mercury is terrible for the baby so be careful if you go this route!) Ignore the package instructions. What’s important are the EPA and DHA counts on the back of the bottle. You must get it up to around 800 mg each per day in order for it to be therapeutic. Don’t forget to add in what is in your prenatal vitamin as well! I get 814 mg of EPA and 764 mg DHA a day, and it is working great. These nutrients are also fantastic for brain and eye development for the baby, and will help as they develop motor skills when they are older! Break it up into taking it 3x day to get to the needed EPA and DHA counts. Remember - 800 mg total for the day of each nutrient. Any grocery store or drug store
Dandelion 550 mg 3x Day Natural foods market
Apis Mellifica (Homeopathic Medicine that helps relieve itching as needed) Limited to manufacturers packaging Follow package instructions Natural foods market

*Takes about a week of taking the flaxseed oil and dandelion for it to start working. The Apis Mellifica should help right away.

Limit foods that cause swelling. This includes diary and eggs. Make sure you are still getting adequate calcium and protein through other means such as lean meats and dark green leafy vegetables.

Squeeze a slice of lemon into a glass of water. This helps eliminate toxins, and help improve your liver function over time, which helps with alleviating PUPPPS.

Topical Remedies:

  • Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap – Get this at your natural foods market. Take a lukewarm shower with it. Get yourself soaped up, and use a shower puff to really work it into a good lather for a couple of minutes before rinsing it off. It takes about a week of doing this remedy for you to start noticing a difference.

  • Eucerin Calming Cream - As soon as you get out of the shower, cover the rash with this cream. You can get it at any grocery store or drug store. Put it in the refrigerator for an extra cooling effect.

  • Sarna Anti-Itch Lotion – This is another topical cream that works well too. Get it at any grocery store or drug store. It works on the first application, but repeated doses aren’t as effective.

  • Hydracortisone cream – Great to keep on you to treat itchy spots as needed. Get it at any grocery store or drug store.

  • Clarisonic with body brush (optional and expensive, $200) – This is a body brush that is made by the makers of the sonicare toothbrush. This should be used sparingly, but can be helpful every so often. Part of PUPPPS is that the skin builds up quite a bit of dead skin cells. When you are applying topical treatments, it gets difficult for the lotion to penetrate through the dead skin and get to the part that needs to be healed. The Clarisonic brush will gently slough off dead skin cells without scratching. You will feel itchy afterwards, so use carefully and only every once in a while. This is an especially helpful remedy when you are done being pregnant and the PUPPPS is finally beginning to heal up and go away. Use in the shower with your pine tar soap. Soap up, and run the Clarisonic brush over the effected skin until the timer goes off (it only stays on for a limited time). Rinse off, get out of the shower and apply lotion. You can buy this from or from higher end salons.

Acupuncture has been known to help treat the symptoms of PUPPPS. It will tone down the itching substantially. Not all acupuncturists are fully trained on how to treat this condition, so be careful on who you go to. If you live in Colorado Springs and want a recommendation, shoot me an email. I would be happy to share the name of the person I use. I saw someone who wasn’t good last time (links to those blog posts are below). The lady I see now is fantastic! Each treatment will cost around $50-$65 each, depending on the clinic, and you will need to go 2-3 times (or potentially more) depending on the severity of your rash.

Other Tips:

  • Wear loose clothing like dresses. Let your skin air out as much as possible. Don’t wear restrictive clothing that doesn’t breathe.

  • No hot showers! Take lukewarm showers instead. The heat can exacerbate the rash.

  • Try to stay in cool environments. If it is summer, stay in air conditioned places as much as possible. Again, heat makes it worse

  • Avoid the temptation to scratch. If you scratch the rash, it will make it much worse. The patch of skin you scratch will become raised, inflamed, more itchy and even painful.

  • Clip your nails back and sleep wearing gloves at night. Sometimes without realizing it, you can scratch yourself in your sleep. You will wake up feeling miserable. Prevent yourself from doing this by wearing a light pair of gloves at night.

My other blog posts on PUPPPS:
Sarah's Adventures at the Witch Doctor
PUPPPs Remedies
PUPPPs Update
Sleeping with Gloves On

Finally, I am not a doctor. You need to consult with your OB on this to see what they recommend. Anything they say trumps what I have written here. These are merely things that I have independently tried that have worked for me. Every woman and every pregnancy is different and I don't pretend to be an expert! Good luck!


Clarisonic said...

We are glad to hear that the Clarisonic was able to provide you some relief during this time. Congrats on the pregnancy. Let us know if you ever have any questions about sonic cleansing - we are here to help. You can find us on Twitter @Clarisonic or email us Take care.

Alyce said...

Be gone, itch!

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's a lot of stuff! I tried them all with my first outbreak of puppps. Dandelion capsules worked the best I guess ...although I didn't ever get much sleep. Guess what ladies I have a new one and it worked with this pregnancy!
"freeze dried nettles"!! Seriously a miracle. My new natural dr told me about them two days ago and though my skin is dry it is not itchy or bumpy :) I had puppps with my first pregnancy, it was 4 weeks from h31!
I searched and tried every remedy with little to no relief :( I since switched to a natural dr. I literally just started with the rash again this time I'm having a boy. I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant. I spoke to my natural dr. Immediately since I recognized the rash right away. I told him I hadn't switched any products or laundry soap etc. and that the dandelion capsules were the only thing that helped any. He then told me to try " freeze dried nettles" skeptical but desperate I went to the pharmacy and popped two capsules in the parking lot and drove home. I didn't realize it but by the time I got home the bumps flattened out and seemed to dry out! Now I take them twice a day at first signs of itching! It's a miracle! I am posting this where ever I can! I remember being so desperate last time and I want to help as many girls as possible :)