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Thread: itching like crazy

  1. #1

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    Default itching like crazy

    Hi i was wondering whether any body came down with crawly itchy skin all over the place right down to the soles of your feet it is driving me nuts any ideas ?????


  2. #2

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    Shazz it could be the following, it depends on how severe the itching is, but this can be quite dangerous, sorry I don't want to alarm you, but my friend ended up with this so I thought I would post some information and then you can decide!!

    What is obstetric cholestasis (intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy – ICP)?
    Obstetric cholestasis (sometimes called "cholestasis of pregnancy", "OC", "intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy", "ICP") affects the liver, which in some women seems to be oversensitive to pregnancy hormones. Bile is produced in the liver and normally it flows down the bile ducts into the intestines where it helps with the digestion of food. If you have OC, the flow of bile into the intestines is reduced and so bile salts build up in your blood.


    The main symptom is itching, which is usually worse at night so can result in fatigue and insomnia. It often begins on the palms of the hands and the soles of feet and can become generalised. Some women are made so desperate by the itching that they scratch themselves until their skin is bleeding. Less commonly, women can develop jaundice. The itching completely disappears within a couple of weeks of giving birth.

    Who's at risk?
    The percentage of women affected by OC varies across the world. In Chile, the condition is very common but in Europe, except for Scandinavia and Poland, it's less than one per cent of pregnant women. If you have a family history of OC and your mother or sisters were affected, you're more likely to suffer from it yourself.

    How is OC identified?
    If you complain of itching, your doctor will consider OC. It is also important to consider other possible causes for the itching, such as stretching of the skin during pregnancy, because OC is a diagnosis of exclusion, which means it is only diagnosed when all other causes have been ruled out.


    The itching associated with OC usually begins during the last ten weeks of pregnancy, although it can start much earlier. Women describe it as constant and sometimes as intolerable. Blood tests should include a bile acid test and a liver function test. If these tests are negative but the mother is still itching, they should be repeated. This is important as it is known that mothers may itch for some time before testing positive for OC.


    An ultrasound scan will also be recommended to check for gallstones, which could be the reason why the flow of bile into the gut is blocked. Gallstones are rare in pregnancy but women who develop OC are predisposed towards developing gallstones, so it is possible to have both gallstones and OC.

    Will OC harm my baby?
    The risk of having a stillborn baby is 15% greater for women who have OC than for other women. Nobody is quite sure why. The baby may die because of the bile acids, which are known to cross the placenta, or as a result of being suddenly deprived of oxygen, perhaps because of placental problems.

    How is OC managed?
    Two drugs are currently used to manage OC. Ursodeoxycholic acid is favoured in the specialist centres for OC. It appears to eliminate or reduce the itching and can result in the liver function and bile acid results returning to normal. Steroids (in particular dexamethasone) can also be considered but need careful management.


    Mothers with OC may be at risk of bleeding after the birth. This is because bile is needed to absorb vitamin K from food, and vitamin K helps the blood to clot. So in some hospitals the mother is given vitamin K daily by mouth until delivery to protect her from this small risk of bleeding. The baby is also protected by the vitamin K.

    As far as the baby is concerned, the principal aim of treatment is to eliminate the risk of stillbirth by delivering him as soon as his lungs are mature enough for him to survive outside the womb. Scans will be used to monitor his growth and wellbeing. At present, doctors think it best to deliver the baby at about 35 to 38 weeks. If women with OC have their labours induced at this time, their babies are very likely to survive, while if pregnancy is allowed to continue to 40 weeks, the risk of stillbirth increases.

    Will OC affect my next pregnancies?
    There is a 60 -- 80% chance that future pregnancies will also be affected by OC.

    How can I cope with the itching?
    Although there is no medical evidence to suggest that diet helps, you may want to take a careful look at what you eat and cut down on dairy products, fried and fatty foods to reduce the work your liver has to do. Follow a healthy diet and stick to normal pregnancy guidelines which recommend avoiding or strictly limiting alcohol intake and drinking plenty of water.


    To help with the itching, try:


    • Calamine lotion

    • Creams containing chamomile or calendula

    • Wearing light, loose cotton clothes

    • Avoiding hot, humid conditions.

    You could also go to a registered homeopath who may be able to help with remedies to support the liver. (To find a registered homeopath, visit our Complementary Therapies A-Z.) You should talk to your consultant, however, before embarking on any complementary treatment.


    However difficult, try to relax. Sleep whenever you can because itching may make sleeping at night difficult. (Follow our tips on sleeping well in pregnancy.) Distract yourself by seeing friends and keeping busy. Contact the OC Support Group (see details below) and talk to someone who knows what it's like to have OC.

  3. #3

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    Default

    There is a complication of pregnancy that causes itching (but I can't remember the name :-k) You should get checked out by your midwife or doctor to be sure.

  4. #4

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    Shazz- hope it goes well for you tomorrow - don't let this slide by the sounds of it -you must be very uncomfortable

  5. #5

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    thanks for your reply's i will most definately be seeing my GP asap i have an appt at 1.pm tomorrow but i think i will try and get in sooner

  6. #6

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    I have to say reading this thread scared the crap out of me.

    Not all people are itchy because of just pregnancy. I suffer from Excema so my itchiness is normal and will happen throughout my pregnancy. Not once did my GP mention the information someone mentioned above. Im going to ask her about this when I see her next.

    Shazz - talk to your GP tomorrow, it could be something simple like reaction to the insulin you are taking?

    Bel

  7. #7

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    Hi Bel,
    I'm sorry the posts have scared you (not the intention). Itching in pregnancy can be harmless (particluarly if you have had it before pregnancy or if you have just had a growth spurt) but there are other conditions that are more of a problem that occur in the later stage of pregnancy (as in Lisa's post - the thing I couldn't remember the name for) that just need to be checked out. Insulin is an unlikely cause of itching from a sensitivity. The important things to consider are things like your usual itching and where the itching actually is on your body.


    If you have excema, then that is probably the cause of itching for you - but you know what your normal itching locations and patterns are, and that's important. Check with your GP about what to look for and let them know if you have any changes.

    :flower:

  8. #8

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    Sorry it wasn't my intention to worry anyone, if you have excema beforehand i wouldn't worry at all about the itching, it is just if you get really itchy especially in the 3rd trimester without any other causes that it is best to get it checked out!

    It could just be the skin stretching or something like that, but it is best to be safe than sorry. It is a very intense itch from Obstetric cholestasis, it isn't just a little itch now and then, but constant, especially at night.

    Shazz I hope all goes well for you tomorrow and that it is just dry skin or something!

  9. #9

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    Morning all,
    i did manage a couple of hours sleep in between scratching like a feral cat it so sucks when you can't reach your feet and everyone is sleeping to help you scratch so a ruler did the trick this morning it is not so much my feet but my shoulders and neck and top of my tummy, one spot on my palms and face that are driving me crazy they will be locking me up if this is going to continue for the next month or so :shock:

  10. #10

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    Hi
    i'm back from the gp he did all the usual things BP was good 120/80 weight still only 10 kg weight gain bub still head down 5/5 good fetal heart rate etc etc the n checked for odema and rash checked my eyes and then sent me for blood tests to check for cholestasis of pregnancy ( the liver thing ) and urine sample i should get all results in about 3 days he has prescribed polaramine to take 3 times a day for the itching ( not sure i want to take anything though- how safe is that ???) so thats where i'm at still scratching like mad

  11. #11

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    Default

    Shazz,

    Polaramine is the only safe thing to take for itchiness, I've been told. It can be used on little bubs as well, so it's quite safe.

    Don't suffer more than you have to!

    love
    sushee

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