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Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, PUPPP, is a pregnancy rash that starts off in the stretch marks on a woman's abdomen. It usually starts in the period where skin stretches most quickly, which is the third trimester of pregnancy. The only real "treatment" for PUPPP is giving birth, but thankfully there are some symptomatic treatments women can use for some relief.

The exact cause of PUPPP is unknown, but it starts with the stretching of the abdominal skin as pink, raised spots around the belly button. It can than spread to the whole abdomen, thighs, buttocks and the arms and legs. PUPPP is the most common pregnancy rash, and it's a form of urticaria (hives). Besides the spots, which later form patches of spots (that's the "plaques"!), PUPPP can be recognized by its terrible itchiness. The itching of Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy is so bad for many women that they can hardly sleep!

All of that is bad enough, but add the knowledge that PUPPP is only cured once the pregnancy is over, and it's really hard to bear. There are some treatments, and if you have PUPPP and are looking for symptomatic relief, your healthcare provider could recommend the following: Moisturizing the skin, in large quantities applied as often as necessary. This may provide some relief, or some women notice absolutely no difference. It may prevent the situation from worsening. Steroidal creams, applied to the areas of skin that are affected by PUPPP.

The advantage of using a topical, external cream is obvious to any pregnant woman. The amount of relief gained through these steroidal creams will vary from woman to woman. Antihistamines are sometimes prescribed for PUPPP. Although they are less effective for PUPPP than they are for other forms of urticaria, most doctors will agree that antihistamines are safe during pregnancy, at least in the latter stages.

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