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Home With a New Baby, and a Whopping Case of Hives.

Here I am at home on materinity leave with new Babygirl and 18 month old Babyboy-—for almost a full month now! This is so hard to believe. Only this week have I finally figured out Babygirl’s language. I finally know that after feeding, she needs to be held upright and her back or bottom tapped gently for about an hour or she will not sleep. I know the little kitten fussy noises that means that she is hungry again- even if it’s too early by the clock. I know which wet farty noises mean gas and which mean, better change that diaper, or change the whole outfit!!

 

These past weeks figuring her out have been complicated by trying to figure myself out. I have been battling the oddest afflication now for about 10 days. I have had a terrible case of hives.

 

Now, I am not an allergic person, and have no allergies at all, and have never had even one hive in my entire life. I have had allergic reactions to nasty insect bites while traveling in South America, but I’ll allow that is probably pretty normal.

 

Now,  this situation is entirely weird and very annoying. 10 days ago I noticed that my ankles and wrists itched. I looked and had what appeared to be crops of fresh mosquito bites. “Huh,” I shrugged and ignored them.

 

The next morning, I awoke to the sensation of my face covered in prickly heat. My eyes, nose and ears itched like mad. I rubbed and rubbed and went about my routine. Late morning when mom came over to help out with the babies, she took one look at me and went, “What is WRONG with your face?” Apparently I was red as a tomato and swollen puffy as well.

 

I assured her and myself that I could breathe, that my lips and tongue were not involved, took some Benadryl, and tried to ignore the spreading inferno. But by the end of the day, I had red, swollen itchy rash over my breasts also.

 

I continued to take Benadryl and ignore. But things got worse. By day 3 or 4 I was emailing everyone I knew who might know what was going on. A google search turned up about a gazillion hits on “Postpartum Hives”, though a call to my Ob and Internist turned up that neither of them had ever heard of such as thing. A physician friend had had something similar late in pregnancy- PUPPP (Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) which had responded to steroids.

 

At this point, the rash on my face, ears and breasts was like one big confluent wheal. I was going mad with itching. All this time I was itchy, puffy and miserable, I was also up every 3 hours or so breastfeeding. Or supplementing with bottle, and the Benadryl cut down on my milk supply considerably. So I called my doc and asked for steroids.

 

She prescribed a nice hefty taper starting at 60 mg Prednisone daily. I started this, and within hours had a little relief, at least in the itching and swelling. But, after 12 hours, not only was th original rash back with a vengeance, but it spread- classic hives on my legs, arms, and chest. Raised wheals that then coalesced into big raised puffy itchy plaques. I looked like an alien. No blistering, just wheals and then swelling. And itchy, itchy, itchy.

 

I got some Hydroxyzine, and upped my own Prednisone to 80 mg, and changed the dosing to q12 hours. I know, I know, doctors shouldn’t mess with their own meds like that, but what was I to do?

 

And, things started to quiet down. Now, I am markedly better. Itchy, and the rash is still there, though faint. I can sleep. I no longer look like an alien.

 

But I am so beat. I had a bit of an energy surge at first with the Prednisone, but I think the Hydroxyzine and the general sleep deprivation cancelled that out. I can even take the steroids at night and then pass out. For a few hours.

 

So, I am getting a bit better, though I feel this has caused me a bit of a setback. I had wanted to be up and about more, to be starting on eating healthy and maybe even exercising a bit… but I feel like I am still in survival mode. I can’t barely motivate out of pajamas and off the couch. Great to catch up on Food Network, but really! I see people jogging down the street, all free and light and easy in the fresh chill air, and I envy them. Kind of.

 

On the other hand, it is kind of nice to have really no other responsibility than holding one baby, and playing with the other. We’re all catching up on Sesame street.

 

So if anyone has heard of something like this, and can share their experience, they are most welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

28 replies »

  1. Many people feel it’s due to hormones related to nursing.

    I’m 26 months postpartum (breastfed for 20 months) and the hives, while waaaaaaay better than they used to be, still spring up on my neck and face occasionally.

    What really shocked me is the disconnect between how common this seems to be (as evidenced by your Google search) vs. how unaware most people, even in medical fields, are of the problem.

    I’m glad you were able you make the connection and get help before losing too much sleep over it.

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    • Thanks so much for your input– It feels better just to hear from others who have had similar symptoms! I agree, I think this is a postpartum form of PUPPP… They are better after Prednisone, but still pop up in crops…

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  2. My hives that started after my daughter was born over 7 years ago was because I had low testosterone and high progesterone. I just found out a few months ago so I suffered for over 7 years. The testosterone is working and I am so thankful for that! If you still suffer get tested!

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  3. I am experiencing the same hives just after my delivery. I thought it might be because of heat. But, now when the weather is pleasant, not so hot, i still have the hives popping up. I have consulted to my dermatologist 3 times and she prescribed me different meds each time i consulted. The last consultation, she prescribed me w/ methilprednisolone (if not mispelled) and cream. If they dont work, next plan would be skin biopsy to further diagnose.
    I just wonder how you dealt with the hives? Do they just dissapeared or you treat them with some medication till they gone? P.s. i also breastfeed my baby.

    Thank you

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  4. wow, dido, didn’t realize how common this was. When it happened to me, absolutely no one around me, including doctors, had seen this before and no one could figure out the cause. I had hives head to toe after my second son, starting 6 months postpartum. Every single day, regular temporary breakout throughout the day, especially at night.
    I’m not a fan on modern allopathic medicine which is all about treating symptoms instead of the root cause, and I wanted to keep track on the symptoms so I could keep track of the condition, so I avoided all antihistamine drugs. I took benadryl shot once when my whole face was swollen, just to make sure I wouldn’t suffocate, but after I took the shot, I was still swollen, even more actually, and extremely drowsy for 2 days.
    Anyway, long story short, I officially weaned my 2nd boy at 18 months when I was pregnant with number 3, and my hives literally went away completely immediately after. So it lasted 12 months.
    People joke about it and tell me I was allergic to breastfeeding…hahaha.
    Number 3 is 3 months old now, nothing so far, but crossing my fingers that it won’t happen again. Definitely a hormonal thing, but obviously and strangely not studied much at all by the medical community, given the commonality of this condition.

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  5. I would seriously get your progesterone and testosterone checked out. Yes, women have testosterone. I have been on testosterone cream for almost 2 years now and it is has made a huge difference for me. If you get hives, especially right before your period or ovulation you most likely have too much progesterone. I was diagnosed by my OBGYN through a simple blood test. I am not on the pill, but if you are on the pill it should regulate that.

    The simple testosterone cream will make a world of difference. Having too much progesterone also makes you super tired, sore nipples and more, just Google it. So, not only does taking the testosterone keep you in balance it helps you feel better too. The dose is small but since women need it to it is very helpful. I am still 100% female, just a happier one.

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  6. One more thing. There was only one doctor in a practice of several that had any idea what was causing my hives. This is inexcusable. I now tell every doctor I go to about my condition so it can become more well known. I don’t want other women to suffer like I did for so many years.

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    • Any correlation with taking herbal supplements to increase supply?
      I have taken fenugreek, fennel, and some other supplements recommended by lactation consultants and pediatrician and had a case of hives last week that sent me to the ER. I ended up not taking supplements any longer and with the antihistamine medications my supply went way down.

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  7. I also was covered in hives, which prompted me to go to the ER. Was given IV steroids and a medrol dose pack along with antihistamines. I though, was taking herbal supplements to “increase milk supply”. I wonder if any of the other moms were also taking herbal supplements like fenugreek, fennel seeds, goats rue, etc. and if so, if it would be a dose related reaction.
    Thank you for your input.

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    • Hi Paula, no herbals, only the prenatal vitamin I had taken all along. Your reaction sounded much worse than mine! I have since met several women who had hives while pregnant and/or breastfeeding… The thought is that it’s a hormone thing

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  8. I am 11 weeks post-partum, happy as a bee, not stressed out, and pumping exclusively (baby has ‘inefficient eating’ issues but that’s another problem altogether!) and I suddenly broke out in MAJOR head-to-toe hives 8 days ago. They last for about 8 hours and I get a few hours break before another attack comes on. I don’t want to lose my milk supply and so I’m just bearing with it, and it’s miserable. I had never heard of this problem before and neither have my midwives, doula, nor pediatrician. I hope that they end tomorrow….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am 5 week postpartum, exclusively breastfeeding. I broke out in hives about 5 days after I gave birth, A week later my PCP prescribed me prednisone which worked at first but then they came back with a vengeance. Another round did nothing, then went to allergist who told me to simply take more zyrtec and if after a week nothing happens he will prescribe me an additional antihistamine. I am also having blood work done for allergies and thyroid issues. My 6 week postpartum visit is Friday and I will talk to my midwife about it. I would like to get on hormonal BC at this visit anyway so I will see if there is a particular pill that will help with hives. Has anyone seen a difference after going on birth control?

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  10. So sorry to hear you going through all this. Definitely sounds like a hormonal imbalance postpartum. Your chosen course of care made sense. Hopefully, your can return to some healthy eating to help your overall system recover more quickly. Enjoy those little ones. They grow up before you know it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve just found this upon my searching for “heat rash after giving birth” and I can’t believe I have hives. My son is now 13 weeks and I have been suffering this whole time thinking it was heat rash. I live in AZ so I figured I’d wait until it cools off (it’s still in the high 90’s here). A co-worker mentioned hives and I laughed. I don’t have hives! Then I looked online and read that there is a thing called postpartum hives. Lovely. I have a doc apt tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m 8 months postpartum and have been having hives on my feet, hand’s and wrist. It’s driving me crazy! I’m so itchy with welts and am extremely tired. These hives are saping any energy I might have. Tomorrow I will start a 3 day fast in hopes something will give. Is there anyone who went the nonsteroidal route to rid themselves of this? Those that did take steroids, how long did you have to take it for and has it permanently gone away?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi drmoniquetello.. I’ve gone to the ER, urgent care and primary… they say it’s hives. Since my last post I now have it everywhere. Was prescribed prednisone. Was on it for 2 days and it went away so i decided not to take it anymore and it’s back in full force. My labs came back normal for Thyroid, infections,or glucose. I’m so lost. Since having my son, my body has been crazed. I juiced for 4 days no relief. Any suggestions would be great.

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  14. Just want to give you guys an update. Went to my obgyn, my LH and FSH are right on the edge of low “normal”. My hives have gotten better by taking high dose vitamin C 4x a day, magnesium and last and what seems like the most important is HCL Pepsin every time I eat. My hives have subsided with this daily regimen.

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  15. So I am not sure if this is still active, but I am experiencing hives for the first time ever 8 months pp and breastfeeding. I am sure it’s a hormonal imbalance but I am being told that no one has heard of this!

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  16. I am 6 wks postpartum. Ive had these “hives” for about 4 weeks now. I however only breastfed the first two weeks. This began after I stopped making milk. My checkup with doc isn’t for another week. These will pop up in different areas. In about two days, those will be gone but new ones have appeared! So strange! Never had anything like this.

    Liked by 1 person

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