Dyshidrosis in Pregnancy

Advisory #1:
This post has some gross-ish skin pictures. You may want to scroll quickly.

Advisory #2:
I am not a doctor. I am clearly not YOUR doctor. I just know I had trouble finding information when I needed it and wanted to be a source in case it could help someone out. Check with your own doctor. Duh.

When I was around 18 weeks I noticed a little bump on one of my fingers. I figured it was just a bug bite or something. Soon that one bump became multiple bumps on multiple fingers.The bumps started out as little red bumps, kind of "under" the skin.

By the end of that first week, my hands had bumps all over and were itching like crazy. The bumps came above the skin and looked almost like poison ivy, but without any oozing. 



Imagine these all over between my fingers, toes and on my palms and feet bottoms.

I had an OB appointment the next week- she took a look and knew it wasn't necessarily a "pregnancy" thing and told me to see a dermatologist. Of course that meant another appointment, another afternoon off work. Blah. 

The dermatologist took one look at called it "dyshidrosis"- a pretty severe/random type of eczema that presents as these bumps between fingers and toes and on palms and feet bottoms. By this time I had a few bumps showing up on my feet also. 

Of course the typical treatment is either oral or topical steroids, both of which he told me are no-nos in pregnancy. My option? Hand cream. Ugh. Apparently this is onset/encouraged by dry hands and the best I could do was to try and keep my hands as moist as possibly, use the lotion ANY time my hands come in contact with water.

I was a religious Aveeno Hand cream user for 3 or 4 days and saw no improvement.. by the beginning of my 20th week (2 weeks in to this) my hands were so itchy and I was in so much pain that I was in tears. My hands got so swollen that I couldn't bend my fingers to grip a pen, my fingers were swollen and my rings wouldn't fit anymore- the rings that are almost always too big.

It was at this 2 week point that I went to the grocery store and just got a ton of "steroid free" creams and ointments to try out and see if ANYTHING would help. Hydrocortisone was instant relief, for awhile at least. (The OB had actually recommended I use this until I saw the derm, but since I was able to get an appointment 2 days later I never got any. I don't know why the derm never mentioned it.)

Giant so the names are clear.
My new routine became: use hydrocortisone (Neosporin eczema essentials anti-itch) 3x/day as a hand/foot lotion (morning after my shower, lunch time and before bed). In between when the itching started up again I would use the Gold Bond Intense Healing cream. After every time I washed my hands (A LOT! I am pregnant.. I pee A LOT!), I used the Aveeno Intense Moisture Hand Cream. Dude that is a ton of lotion on my skin and it was still dry and itchy and bumpy.

Oh also- for crazy itching, run your hands under cold water and then immediately apply one of the above lotions! Hot water makes the itching 100x worse. In the shower I would take my whole shower and then step out of the water, run my hands under cold water and use the Neosporin eczema essentials  body wash on my hands, rinse and get out, apply lotion.

(Note: I had a perinatologist appointment during this week and checked in with him. He said that he has definitely seen dyshidrosis before in the pregnants and it can be pregnancy induced. I also asked him about all of the creams/lotions and he was cool with using as much hydrocortisone as I wanted. I had been holding off before because I wasn't sure how much would be too much- it seemed like it was more... intense? than regular lotion. He also recommended a couple of other items I could use.. all combined- Benedryl gel and triamcinocone (?). I never got the last two since the hydrocorisone was doing as well as anything could.)

(Side note- one of the spots on my foot bottom got so huge after walking at a job site all day that it was like multiple bumps merged into one giant A bump. Because there is liquid in these- even if they don't ooze or pop- it was a huge lump/blister on the bottom of my foot. I couldn't put pressure onto my foot without a shoe on. Yeah.. that wasn't working, so that night I popped it. OMG it felt so good and such relief! I would definitely not recommend popping any of the little bumps, but I couldn't walk on the foot with the size of this thing. I immediately cleaned it, put on bacitracin and a band aid.)

By the end of the 3rd week of intense itching and these spots/blisters, my hands started slightly peeling.



Everywhere that there had been a blister/spot began to peel as it dried out. I had 4 weeks of the peeling before there wasn't really anything left to peel. (If you are keeping track, we are now 7 weeks in since the first bump appeared.)

Today I am 7.5 weeks into this (25 weeks+ pregnant). My hands still get wicked itchy, but there is no more peeling. I am guessing the itch I feel now is the new skin coming in and regenerating (or whatever skin does) in combination with being wicked dry. It is by no means that crazy itching that I had with the bumps. My hands especially are wicked dry still. I am not using hydrocortisone anymore (I pretty much stopped that and didn't need it anymore once I began peeling), and mostly stick to the Aveeno Eczema Therapy (every time I wash my hands, before bed, and when I get in the car in the morning and at night.)

I had a pretty textbook case that followed these two articles, if you are looking for more information. Or, feel free to contact me with any questions!!

Dyshidrotic Eczema
Dyshidrosis

Confessions of a Northern Belle  – (November 22, 2013 at 7:37 AM)  

Oh my gosh that sucks!!! I have heard of crazy skin stuff during pregnancy (like my weird pimples all over my back), but not that! Thank gosh you found a remedy though. I hope it clears up for the rest of your pregnancy!

Meredith  – (November 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM)  

Oh my GOSH! I totally had this with Lizzy, but never got diagnosed (my OB basically said that it wasn't PUPPS, and that I could go to the derm if I wanted but that she'd likely tell me just Aveeno and hydrocortizone cream). It was so miserable! I'm sorry you're dealing with it!

Faith  – (December 4, 2013 at 1:26 PM)  

Oh no! I'm glad that you seem to have gotten it under control at least. I had a problem with my foot that required steroids. I could have gotten a shot at the site & it was OK but it wasn't really bad enough for me to go through the pain of a steroid shot. I ended up putting a topical ibuprofen on it for the remainder of my pregnancy. I got sick of hearing that the solution for all my ailments was to basically give birth there at the end. Except it continues sometimes if you're nursing since so many things can also effect supply.

Kate  – (December 23, 2013 at 12:33 PM)  

This sucks. I got it too and it never went away - my baby is 10 months old now and I am still struggling with the damn blisters. I just stopped nursing and hope that this will calm things down.

Bonnie A  – (October 2, 2014 at 3:50 PM)  

I've never been pregnant but I developed Dyshidrosis at age 22 and it's been with me since (I'm 36). Your derm probably didn't recommend hydrocortisone because it's a Corticosteroid, though the type you buy OTC is a low level steroid. The concerns with long-term steroid use (even when not pregnant) are that it can thin the skin (increasing exposure through skin) and also lower immunity (in higher doses).

Personally, I haven't found that my vesicles (AKA blisters) clear up any quicker with steroid cream than they do when left alone. Sunshine and chlorine, respectively, also help clear them up. Mine are reasonably manageable - I always have at least one on my feet, but it's no where near as bad as some I've seen online. When I get a particularly big one, especially in my arch or somewhere else that rubs/presses on shoes, I'll lance it with a sterilized needle, squeeze all the liquid out with alcohol-soaked pads, and clean the area with alcohol thoroughly after. I've definitely noticed that if a "blister" bursts, I develop additional blisters around the area where the liquid spread. So while it's not contagious to others, it seems contagious to me!

Hope yours has cleared up since your original post! Mine seems to be a life-long experience that waxes and wanes with stress, certain shoes, and weather.

Bonnie A  – (October 2, 2014 at 3:50 PM)  

I've never been pregnant but I developed Dyshidrosis at age 22 and it's been with me since (I'm 36). Your derm probably didn't recommend hydrocortisone because it's a Corticosteroid, though the type you buy OTC is a low level steroid. The concerns with long-term steroid use (even when not pregnant) are that it can thin the skin (increasing exposure through skin) and also lower immunity (in higher doses).

Personally, I haven't found that my vesicles (AKA blisters) clear up any quicker with steroid cream than they do when left alone. Sunshine and chlorine, respectively, also help clear them up. Mine are reasonably manageable - I always have at least one on my feet, but it's no where near as bad as some I've seen online. When I get a particularly big one, especially in my arch or somewhere else that rubs/presses on shoes, I'll lance it with a sterilized needle, squeeze all the liquid out with alcohol-soaked pads, and clean the area with alcohol thoroughly after. I've definitely noticed that if a "blister" bursts, I develop additional blisters around the area where the liquid spread. So while it's not contagious to others, it seems contagious to me!

Hope yours has cleared up since your original post! Mine seems to be a life-long experience that waxes and wanes with stress, certain shoes, and weather.

brooke healy  – (October 16, 2014 at 2:37 PM)  

I know this is an old post but I'm dealing with the same thing and have been since my son was born in January. Has anyone had this go away?

Samantha  – (October 16, 2014 at 3:43 PM)  

Hi Brooke and Bonnie! I am still dealing with this as well. The big blisters went away after maybe 2 or 3 months but then I still struggled with the dry patches and itchy hands and feet the rest of my pregnancy. The baby was born in February and I had a short reprieve from the itching.

Since he was about 2? months old I've been getting blisters on and off and having the itchy hands and feet again. I've not had an outbreak like the original one shown here, but I will still get little patches here and there. They have gone away much quicker this time, but leave the peeling/itchy patches for months.

I will be curious to see if it goes away when I stop nursing..

Raquel Somatra  – (September 2, 2015 at 12:42 PM)  

Hi Samantha,
Just found your site after having a crying meltdown over these bumps. I'm 35 weeks and I can't believe how quickly they formed. My doctor offered to prescribe a steroid cream but after reading up on side effects I declined.

A little over two weeks ago, they were on the inside of my fingers only, then all around fingers, then palms, then toes, then soles of feet, just an all around crappy time. I read apple cider vinegar can help and so I've been applying it with Aveeno and some days, it seems like it's completely going away, but then I wake up to a day like today, with the painfully swollen fingers, just so sensitive and itchy. I'm crying again! Hormones!!

Anyway I am writing to see if this has become better once giving birth. Just, at this time, I need lots of hope.

Unknown  – (April 8, 2016 at 8:25 PM)  

This is exactly what I have! Started the same way for me just a few bumps on my fingers, then my toes. It itches miserably! Thank you for sharing.

Lexie Roberts  – (May 1, 2016 at 3:00 PM)  

I hate this condition!!!! I developed dyshydrotic eczema 1 month PP of having my second daughter. I feel it is due to the use of antibiotics in the hospital for MY positive GBS. It started on my left ring finger(wedding ring), then spread to other ring fingers. After removing all jewelry it continued to spread to the webs and palms of my handa. I have only experienced one breakout on my feet but this has not subsided since my first breakout. I have had down time where i didnt breakout for a few weeks. I would just experience itching due to dry skin but now if is back full force. I am 38 weeks pregnant and I am in agony. I soaked in ACV this morning and I am going in my parents pool this afternoon. I have read that the chloribe helps. I refuse to do steroid creams. I will post a source I found. I am desperate to rid my body of this affliction!!!!
http://www.dyshidrosis.co.uk/

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