- Women's Health
PUPPS stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques. Now you see why we just call it PUPPS. "What is that?" you ask? Good question. PUPPS is something women can get during pregnancy. It shows up usually in the second half, if you are one of the lucky few to experience it. At first, you may just have an itchy stomach. I just attributed it to my skin stretching, stretch marks appearing, or one of those weird pregnancy symptoms. When I asked my doctor, I was told it looked like PUPPS. I went home that day and researched, because I have never heard of this. What I found was that I was in for a very itchy, very quick spreading rash. Within a day or two, most of my body was covered in itchy, red welts. When I say itchy, I mean scratching constantly, wishing I had sandpaper to remove my skin so it couldn't itch anymore, couldn't sleep, family wanting to take me to the emergency room itchy. Not to mention I looked like a leper. At first, the spots were single red welts, but by the second day, there were so many that they blended together into blotches. Very attractive, trust me.
So, how do you get it?
Again, good question. From all the research I did, and all the doctors I talked to, I discovered they don't really know. The best guesses doctors have come up with are:
1. Your stomach/ab wall got too big, too fast. They say the rapid stretching can irritate the skin, causing the rash.
2. You may have had a skin condition before pregnancy. Apparently, people with dry skin, eczema, allergies involving rashes, etc., can have worse outbreaks during pregnancy, or have other skin reactions appear.
3. You are having a boy. (Sounds crazy right?) According to research, when the rash is analyzed, doctors have found male DNA in it. To further support this theory, about 70% of women who get PUPPS end up having a baby boy. (Including me.)
4. All those hormones. When you are pregnant, you have tons more hormones than you are used to, you start taking vitamins, your diet changes, and sometimes your body just gets overwhelmed and reacts.
Ok, so what can I do?
There isn't really a way to prevent PUPPS, since the cause isn't official. Treatments start with your basic itch creams and lotions. Oatmeal baths are also a good option. If you can stand it, ice cold baths or showers also help for a little while. This was especially good for me, because my son was born in September, so I was my biggest during the hottest time of the year. If this doesn't work for you, or doesn't work long enough, a determatologist can presribe stronger creams. It can get expensive though, so try the others first. In my case, none of this worked for longer than ten or twenty minutes. There is one more trick, and it worked best for me. I didn't know about it until after I had suffered for a couple of days, but you can take Benadryl. I thought it would hurt the baby, so I didn't take any kind of medicine, but the doctors all sai ti was fine. Check with your doctor first, because I had no other health issues or complications, but it worked great for me. I could finally sleep again!! My experience only lasted about 2 weeks, but it can last until your child is born. Just to end on a happy note, it seems to only happen with the first child, so if you've already had one, you shouldn't have to worry, and if you do get PUPPS with your first, at least you can sleep easy knowing you won't have to go through it again!! I hope you guys find this helpful, or even better, never need this!