Hormonal changes might be one prime reason for itchiness during pregnancy. But there are also various other reasons due to which you might be suffering from this annoying problem of itchiness.
Some of the well-known causes of itching during pregnancy are :
1. Pruritic Urticarial Papules And Plaques Of Pregnancy (PUPPS)
PUPPS is a condition where there are itchy red bumps and large patches which look like rashes on your stomach. Women carrying twins are more likely to face this condition. PUPPS can also spread to your thighs, back, arms, buttocks, and legs.
A doctor, in normal circumstances, will prescribe a topical ointment to relieve you from this condition. When the itching caused by this condition gets severe, the doctor prescribes an antihistamine or oral steroids.
You need not worry about PUPPS as it does not cause any damage to your baby and disappears soon after your delivery.
It is a condition in which you start to see tiny eruptions on your skin that first seem to be like tiny bug bites. It causes excessive scratching as they start to appear on your limbs, stomach, and torso too.
You need not worry about your baby if you are suffering from Prurigo as it does not cause any harm to your unborn baby. Prurigo is generally found in pregnant women who are in their late second and third trimesters.
Your doctor will prescribe you a topical ointment and antihistamines if you are found positive with this condition. In severe cases, oral steroids might be prescribed by your doctor.
3. Pemphigoid Gestationis
Pemphigoid Gestationis is an extreme case of skin conditions. In this condition, itchy eruptions that look like hives form on your skin which turns into large size blisters or lesions in time. This condition starts near your belly button and spreads out to the trunk, legs, palms, arms, and soles.
This condition is much more serious than PUPPS and requires attention and close observation from your doctor. A doctor normally prescribes oral steroids to help you get rid of this condition.
Sometimes, it can also last after your delivery and will tend to reduce as the breastfeeding process starts. It is a serious condition as it can trigger fatal growth problems, pre-term labor and even stillbirth.
4. Impetigo Herpetiform
Impetigo Herpetiform is more often observed in the third trimester of pregnancy and is a severe form of psoriasis. Your skin starts to grow red patches filled with pus.
These soon start to grow into larger pus-filled white rashes. These patches may appear on your thighs, armpits, belly, under the breasts, groin and other areas.
Some other symptoms of this condition include diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and chills. Impetigo Herpetiform is treated with the help of systemic corticosteroids.
5. Intrahepatic Cholestasis Of Pregnancy (ICP)
If you are itching a lot, it is advisable to inform your midwife or doctor immediately. In certain cases (though rare), it can be a warning sign of a certain liver problem during your pregnancy. The liver problem is caused by a condition known as OBSTETRIC CHOLESTASIS (OC) or Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP).
ICP is a severe condition in which a person suffers from massive itching. It is a rare condition which occurs in only about 1 percent of all pregnancy cases in the United States alone. ICP is a serious problem connected with the liver.
When bile does not flow consistently from the liver, it starts to build up in the form of bile salts on the skin. This causes intense itching on your skin.
It may also cause you to develop rashes that are red. These rashes are mostly found on the palms, soles, and stomach of your body.
Some other symptoms of this condition include malaise, nausea, dark urine, pale bowel movements, jaundice, and loss of appetite.
ICP is known to be extremely dangerous as it can cause stillbirth.But in general, for most women, itching is not something you need to worry about. Almost every woman suffers from itching during their pregnancy.
Common Skin Diseases That Causes Itchiness During Pregnancy
Eczema is a disease which is cannot quite be predicted when you are pregnant. You might tend to develop eczema for the first time. If a woman is already suffering from eczema, it often worsens during pregnancy.
Though, some women notice that their condition has improved during pregnancy. It could either get better or worse, while you are pregnant.
It is common for eczema to make your skin itch in the folds of your skin, like the insides of your elbows and knees. It is suggested to ask your doctor to recommend safe treatments for you to soothe eczema.
Thrush is a minor disease that can make you itch is thrush. It is a fungal infection which causes severe itchiness.
Another minor disease that can make you itch. It is caused by tiny mites which irritate your skin, and it’s found to be itchy.
Other Reasons For Feeling Itchy During Pregnancy
9.Increase In Estrogens
Some pregnant women have found that the palms and the soles of their feet sometimes get red and a little itchy. This condition could be a result of an increase in estrogens in the body. It usually tends to disappear soon after their delivery.
You may also find that things such as dry skin that always made you feel itchy make you feel even itchier when you’re pregnant.
Causes Of Vaginal Itching During Pregnancy
Vaginal itching is a very common symptom during pregnancy. It mainly occurs because there is an increase in the vaginal discharge during pregnancy. The excess vaginal discharge tends to cause the skin of the female vulva to get irritated.
Another reason for you to experience vaginal itching could be irritation due to soap, lotion or some detergent.
Hence, your vaginal itching could be just because of the vaginal discharge.
But in some rare cases, it could also be a sign of infection like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, herpes, trichomoniasis, or HPV.
1. Yeast Infection
Hormonal changes during pregnancy do cause a change in the pH level in your vagina. This pH imbalance can cause a yeast infection. Even a poor diet that consists of excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates can cause this infection.
These reasons of poor diet and pH imbalance cause fungal growth in the genital area which results in the yeast infection.
2. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
It has been said that around 1 in 5 pregnant women develop this itchy and irritating infection. Bacterial Vaginosis BV occurs when an overgrowth of bacteria which lives naturally in your vagina takes place. During your pregnancy, this can be caused due to a shift in your hormones.
3. Group B Strep And Trichomoniasis (GBS)
Many types of research and sources have said that around 25 percent of all healthy women have the GBS bacteria living in their reproductive system. The GBS bacteria live in the intestinal tract, rectum, or vagina. A doctor does automatically test you for GBS between the weeks of 35 and 37 of your pregnancy.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. The Trichomonas vaginalis parasite is transmitted sexually and lives in the vagina of a woman.
Many might also experience the problem of Swollen Vulva. It is necessary to treat this.
Can The Itchiness I Feel Harm My Baby?
In most of the cases, itchiness will neither harm nor affect your baby. It is only something you tend to suffer from, but it does not cause any potential harm to your baby.
When To Visit A Doctor?
Although an itchy skin is something that comes complementary to your pregnancy, if you are suffering from severe itching late in your pregnancy you should talk to your doctor. These are signs and indications of cholestasis.
As mentioned earlier, this disease could also affect your baby’s health. The symptoms of this condition include severe itching spreading on your hands and your feet.
The symptoms also include light-colored bowel movements, dark colored urine, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
If you are suffering from Cholestasis, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
For Vaginal Itching
You should check up with your doctor if your vaginal itching does not go away. If you are also experiencing any abnormal vaginal discharge, it could be something that needs a check-up.
It is also advised to go to the doctor if you tend to notice anything abnormal on the skin of your vulvae such as small cuts, ulcers or raised bumps.