Dec 9, 2010

The misery of PUPPP

No snow plow today - there is a break in the weather. Even so, I'm up at 5am because of PUPPP. The itching is driving me almost insane, and I don't know what to do about it other than apply a distraction technique.

The PUPPP seems to be abating a little on my forearms and lower legs, areas that were full of intensity in the beginning. I suppose that is somewhat good, except that it is spreading, and this morning, the most itchy places include the backs of my hands and knees. I also seem to be more bumpy in the neck and am really hoping this thing doesn't spread to my back. It's bad enough that my bum looks like a large purple patch.

I did a lot of research yesterday and even took a taxi during lunch time to a pharmacy that sells dandelion root extract. Only to find out that the bottle clearly states "do not use during pregnancy". After a telephone consultation with a naturopath, I learned that it's really not advisable to use this stuff when pregnant. So there went my number 1 idea for "curing" this itch.

On the advice of my doctor, I have been taking Benadryl (rather than Zyrtec) at night, but as far as I can tell, it's useless other than to make me sleepy. I still wake up some 6 hours later with intense itching. I suppose I shouldn't complain about 6 hours of sleep; once the baby is born this will probably seem like a luxury. But I was really hoping to be well rested before the little one arrives, and at the moment that seems like an unachievable goal.

I haven't yet used much of the 1% steroid cream that the doc also recommended to me. I'm worried about thinning out the skin too much and other possible side effects of using steroids. The patches I'd have to use it on are simply too large.

For the rest, it's back to Pine Tar soap (unclear if this is helpful) and lotions such as Calamine (helpful against itch but dries the skin tremendously and a bad combo for winter weather and indoor heating), or hubby's Cetaphil (an eczema lotion that keeps the skin nice and moist but really doesn't abate the itching much).

Oh, and I'm still on Dandelion tea, since that is made of leaves and not the root, and therefore ok to drink. But I'm doubtful about its ability to help my itch at this point.

Of course, the naturopath thought I should avoid all "white foods" in my diet, such as milk, flour, sugar, rice, etc. Apparently that is what she advices for clients who have pregnancy-related acne. I immediately discarded this option. Without milk or flour, I have no diet. And PUPPP isn't acne.

In fact, very little is known about PUPPP. I researched the medical journals yesterday and came up with very little information that was useful, as far as treatment goes at least. So much for science. 

If any man ever had to suffer this, I suspect this "harmless" itch would have been solved by science decades ago.

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