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Pupps rash is a chronic rash that has a hives-like appearance and afflicts women during pregnancy. Medically, it is known as Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy or PUPPP and in the United Kingdom it is known as polymorphic eruption of pregnancy or PEP.

Pupps rash causes a lot of discomfort to the mother due to the fact that the rashes result in intense sensations of itching. However, pupps rash does not lead to any long term or life-threatening consequences for the child or the mother. Pupps rash usually begins in the stomach area and spreads to other parts of the body such as the arms, legs, chest, feet and neck.

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Symptoms of pupps rash

Some of the signs and symptoms of pupps rash are mentioned below.

  • Pupps rash occurs in two forms, i.e. rashes that result in the formation of only papules or bumps and rashes that result in several skin abnormalities like lesions, blisters, bumps etc. The appearance of pupps rash generally tends to change over a period of time.
  • Pupps rash usually begins with the appearance of tiny solid bumps or elevations on the skin called papules. These bumps are extremely itchy. The rashes may not develop into any other forms in almost half the women affected by pupps rash.
  • Women affected by pupps rash may also see them developing into multiple forms of rashes. Such polymorphic rashes include blisters that lead to increased redness of the skin as well as lesions that are similar to the rashes that appear when one is affected by eczema.
  • Pupps rash first occurs on the abdomen, but does not affect the belly button. It gradually spreads to other areas of the body such as the breasts, the underarms, legs and feet. The face does not tend to get affected by pupps rash.
  • On most occasions pregnancy results in skin distention or stretching of the skin, especially in women who are carrying large babies, twins or triplets. Pupps rash more than not, first occurs within such stretch marks.
  • Pupps rash has an average lifespan of six weeks and tends to resolve on its own in a week or two after delivery. Cases of pupps rash with severe itching tend to last for about a week.

Causes and diagnosis of pupps rash

Pupps rash has no causative factors. Pupps rash does not seem to be associated with any hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders or abnormalities of the fetus. However research studies have pointed out the following facts about pupps rash:

  • Most of the cases of pupps rash are caused due to stretching or distention of the skin. Hence, women who are expecting for the first time, generally tend to be affected by pupps rash in the third trimester.
  • In addition, women who are pregnant with twins or triplets or have exceptionally large babies tend to be more at risk to develop pupps rash than other women.
  • Some studies have revealed that most of the women affected with pupps rash tend to deliver male children. Biopsies of the papules or the rash conclude that there is male fetal DNA present in them, thereby leading to a hypothesis that the male fetal DNA may act as a factor in skin irritation.
  • Pupps rash does not cause any damage to the mother or the baby. There may be certain instances of induced labor as well as hypertension in pregnant women affected by pupps rash.
  • There are no special tests or diagnostic methods that are followed to determine the presence of pupps rash. The diagnosis of pupps rash is based purely on the appearance of the rash.

Treatment of pupps rash

Pupps rash and its symptoms can be treated in the following ways:

  • Mild cases of pupps rash during pregnancy can be resolved by applying topical moisturizing creams or some emollient or water based ointments.
  • Moderate cases of pupps rash during pregnancy can be treated using class I or Class II topical corticosteroid ointments and creams.
  • Severe cases of pupps rash during pregnancy may involve the intake of oral corticosteroids. However, such pills have severe side effects to the mother as well as the fetus. Hence, such medications are prescribed by a doctor only after serious considerations and consultation with the expectant mother.
  • Some women who are at thirty seven weeks of pregnancy may undergo induced labor to avoid chronic and distressing cases of pupps rash
  • Most cases of pupps rash disappear after delivery. On rare occasions, pupps rash may continue after delivery leading to further medication.
  • Oral antihistamines medications may be used to reduce the itchiness caused due to pupps rash. However, they are not as effective as corticosteroids.
  • In order to alleviate the itchy sensations, women can follow some home remedies such as avoidance of hot showers or baths, use of a mild soap and well as light toweling to dry off. On occasions women may also try out a warm oatmeal bath. Heat can aggravate the itching and hence women affected by pupps rash should avoid going out in the heat as well as wear loose cotton clothing and fabrics.

Pupps Rash Pictures

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