A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy
I had a question the other day about intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy.
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a liver disorder occurring during pregnancy.
This condition affects the normal flow of bile.
Bile acids are chemicals in your liver that help with digestion.
With ICP the bile flow begins to slow down and then bile acids build up in your blood.
This results in itching varying in severity and type.
The itching can be bothersome to severe itching and is often worse at night.
Although it’s been reported as early as 8 weeks pregnant, it’s more common for it to begin in the third trimester.
Overall, 1-2 pregnancies in 1000 is affected by ICP in the USA with Latina populations at 5.6%.
Women carrying multiples, women who’ve had IVF treatment, and those who’ve had previous liver damage or issues appear to have a higher risk of developing it.
The incidence of ICP also has a geographical pattern, with a higher prevalence in Scandinavia and South America specifically Chile where the it’s as high as 15.6%.
Mothers and sisters are also at higher risk of developing the condition, proving there’s a definite genetic predisposition.
There’s still a lot to be learned about the exact causes of ICP, but researchers are currently looking at genetic, hormonal and environmental factors.
ICP is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, preterm labor, fetal distress, respiratory distress, maternal hemorrhaging and meconium passage in utero.
Symptoms can vary in severity and type, but the most common ones include:
>Itching all over, often more severe on palms and soles.
>Dark urine and/or pale stools (grayish in color)
>Right upper quadrant pain
>Fatigue or exhaustion
>Loss of appetite
Management includes reducing the bile acids in your bloodstream.
Unfortunately there’s no cure for ICP, and most treatments are aimed at relieving the itch.
To deal with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily.
*Alfalfa cleanses your liver and supplies necessary vitamins and minerals.
*Eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet and be sure to get moderate exercise, fresh air, and plenty of rest.
*Eat a lot of vegetables.
*Don’t eat junk food, fried foods, or too much coffee.
*Avoid eating rare, undercooked, or raw meat, poultry, or fish. Don’t eat grilled meats, unpasteurized milk or soft cheese. Don’t eat hot dogs or deli meats unless they’re reheated or steamed first. Wash fruits and vegetables well.
*Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs, except as prescribed by your health care provider.
*Avoid all products with phenylalanine (aspartame, Equal, NutraSweet, etc.).
*Don’t use an electric blanket.
*Decrease or eliminate toxic exposures of all kinds (food and environmental).
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