Purpose of this blog

Hello Everyone,
I have such a response to my post on my other blog. I have heard from so many women who have had similar experiences-to a greater or lesser extent. With every women I come in contact with I am amazed at how many of us are out there.
Starting this blog was suggested to me and after thinking about it, I think it is needed. A single place where we can all share our stories. Share our problems. Let each other know what is working for us, and then one day help the medical community find the answer to why and hopefully help.
As I receive stories, updates, and info that I find or are given I will post them here. If you have anything to share you can email me at judeebeeforme@yahoo.com
Please become a follow if you have had, are having, or know someone who has had this problem.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Babies are Here

Our twin little girls were born a month ago, Aug 11. We've been nursing. I have been taking a half dose of the Zyrtec. Whenever I don't take the dose I start to get a few hives. I haven't held off taking it to see how bad it gets. I just don't want to find out.
Had my first Allergist appointment this last week. He wants me to use a nasal spray in addition to the Zyrtec. Then to see me again in 6 more months. We'll see how it goes.
All of the stories I have heard from readers of my blog about their problems and their family's problems. My heat goes out to all of you who are suffering from hives.


  1. I don't know if this will help or if you've already tried, but I gave birth on the 16th and broke out in hives on the morning of the 18th. It scared the shit out of me, to be honest. I took a benadryl but there was absolutely no change. the nurse didn't seem to understand how horrible they felt. they were heavy on my neck, in my hair, on my shoulders, and all over my breasts, including my nipples. they also covered my stomach and hips and the insides of my thighs.

    since noone seemed to understand how bad it was, I tried to figure out something on my own. i was in the bathroom scratching myself to shreds when i noticed the perineum and hemorrhoid creams and sprays they provided me with - 20% benzocaine and 0.5% menthol. the pain reliever spray says just to use it 3-4 times a day and frankly i ignore that. it even helps on my breasts so i can breastfeed without the horrible pain. i can't feel a thing and i'm still covered. :)

    just thought this would be helpful to put out there as an alternative for simply quelling the pain. it does nothing for the source of the problem, but it stops the frantic scratching and pain. :)

    you can email me at bohnellen@gmail.com if you (or anyone else) needs to.

  2. There is no Western explanation for the hives - which are horrendous. I had them after my second son. I am a Chinese medicine practitioner and there is an explanation there so I wanted to make sure that anybody experiencing this knows that there is a solution (and better even: a way to prevent them).
    Chinese medicine has it's own paradigm and while it may sound "superstitious" or very nature-based, the herbal formulas and other treatments work within that paradigm...and not within a Western paradigm. (For example, it's hard to treat a 'hormone imbalance' with Chinese medicine, whereas we can treat 'liver wind,' etc).
    It takes a whole lot of blood and Qi (vitality, energy, etc) to grow a new baby. The "blood" in Chinese medicine is literally the blood in your arteries and veins, but it's also ALL of the important fluids, such as tears and for this case, especially BREAST MILK. Qi is the energy that moves the blood but it's a little more than that as well. It has a lot to do with the proper functioning of the blood as well.
    When a person becomes deficient in blood (which happens after and even sometimes, during a pregnancy), there are a variety of pathways that it can manifest as. The typical blood deficiency in Chinese medicine often manifests as dry skin, brittle nails, pale complexion, memory issues, possible numbness, dizziness, etc.

  3. With a severe blood deficiency, which can happen following a delivery where you've literally spent 9 months making a baby (using all your resources) and then lose blood after the delivery - there can be itching and even hives. This can be explained in a few ways - though I don't know that any explanation within this paradigm is going to make sense to those of us who have been raised with a Western medical understanding of the body. Regardless...there are two ideas as far as I understand them. The vessels, which should be filled with life-giving blood and fluids, are only partially full. First, this means that the Qi, and in particular, the warm and quick moving Yang Qi, is trying to move/push the blood, but there isn't much blood to move and push. This creates itching (which I noticed weeks before the actual hives, it was slight, but it was there) because the Qi is trying to move the blood, which isn't there and so it starts moving the skin...resulting in some crawling, itching, etc. Secondly, (and this is perhaps the hardest to understand for the Western mind, but it's something that most indigenous/aboriginal cultures understand) that empty space in the vessel can fill with Wind. That wind can be created by the Liver itself (due to the blood deficiency, the Chinese Liver plays a huge role in blood storage) or it can be gotten from outside.
    In preventing this type of thing, there are specific foods for pregnant women and postpartum women to eat in Chinese medicine. The ability of the stomach to digest is often limited and so there are lots of nutrient rich soups served to postpartum women to make sure that they are making blood and fluids effectively. While a postpartum woman might be craving meat, it's not necessarily in her best interest to be eating rare steak or burgers. Those have nutrients in them, but it's a question of whether or not her digestive system can get the nutrients. With a well cooked soup, including slow cooked chicken or pork, the stomach has a much easier job. Also, postpartum women are given herbs. First they take a formula to clear the uterus of any old blood. (The idea here being that blood left in the uterus can result in painful periods and menopausal symptoms later, among other things). Second, they take a formula to build blood and prevent things such as itching and hives as well as making sure that their milk is nutritious for their baby (remember, breast milk is an extension of blood). Also, it was traditional for postpartum women to go through the Zuo Yuezi (Month of Rest, or sometimes called Confinement), in which the woman doesn't leave the house with the baby for a month and someone (usually the mother-in-law) prepares healthy soups and herbs for her. There are currently expensive services that provide this for Americans - but the idea is to stick to things like home made bone broths and things like chicken soup, fish soup, pork soup, eggs, etc.

  4. If it's too late for prevention, there are things you can do. You can see a Chinese medicine practitioner for herbs to "build blood" and "expel wind" from your body - herbs that are safe for you to take while you are nursing, which is something that needs to be considered. The practitioner will look at your tongue, take your pulses and assess your symptoms to make a formula that is specific to what is going on with you. Acupuncture wasn't a possibility for me when I had this, I broke out in welts around any metal and so needles made it worse. Often, you can let the practitioner know you want an "herbal consult" only, when you make the appointment, and it's less expensive.
    I tried taking Benedryl because I was literally scratching my skin off. Within four doses, I'd already built up a tolerance and while it provided relief at first, it wouldn't help at all after that. Steroids, which is what most docs will use, will simply push the problem deeper inside and it will often resurface over a period of years. The most immediate solution that helped (while I was waiting for Chinese herbs) was to take dandelion root (I took a total of 1/2 ounce of tincture per day, divided into about 4 doses) and nettle and red raspberry leaf tea. The dandelion root tincture is available at most health food stores. If you can't find bulk nettles and red raspberry, get some of the yogi pregnancy tea or another pre-made tea with that and make tea with 2-3 bags per cup. Within one day of this, my hives were really reduced and the welts had almost stopped being raised and itching so badly by the second day. The amount of welts/hives continued to grow (I then got them on my palms and soles of my feet) but they didn't itch as badly and things were bearable. It was also a good sign for me that they moved off the trunk of my body and started "exiting" out the hands and feet.
    With this regimen, I took tepid/slightly warm showers and then ended with cold water. I ground some fresh oats in my Magic bullet and put them into a muslin bag that I wet down and squeezed the oat milk onto my skin in the shower. It's also important to stretch a couple of times a day, whether it's yoga, pilates or just whatever kind of stretching you know at home, in a warm area. This helps move the qi through the channels so it's not all stuck and creating more welts.
    Another important thing - don't go outside. Especially in the wind. If, for some reason, you have to, make sure that your head and neck are fully covered as well as the rest of your body. You don't want wind or cold touching your skin!
    I am going to type up more information on my blog, but I saw all of the women who are suffering with this and wanted to put something helpful out - hopefully this saves a women or two from having to suffer so much with this.

  5. One more note....since breast milk is an extension of "blood," the hives will probably lessen when nursing stops because you aren't losing as much of your blood/nutrient/fluid base. To keep nursing, it's really important that you are getting enough nutrition. Sally Fallon, in her book Nourishing Traditions, talks about a study done on nursing Chinese women. These women would often eat 12 eggs a day! It's fine to have some sweets, etc..but before you do that, think about your caloric intake for the day and make sure that it's been met with highly nutritious foods that are going to replace what you are losing with milk. Eggs, especially farm raised eggs, are super important. Bone broths also supply much needed calcium and nutrients to replace what you are losing. You can have someone pick up marrow bones or a whole chicken at the store and make a broth for you..even freezing much of it for soup making later. High quality fish oils and fish/seafood are very important. (Green Pastures and Nordic Naturals are trustworthy "good" companies). Lots of butter throughout the day and particularly with the fish oils - Trader Joes is selling Kerry Gold butter, high in fat soluble vitamins, at a low cost now. Greens, including kale, collards, swiss chard and dandelion greens, are a great source of calcium and will help build blood as well. Sardines are high in fat soluble vitamins and calcium. Cheese, yogurt and milk are of course, nutritious - but make sure to get them from high quality sources.

    1. This is awesome!
      Thank you SO much for posting this! I commented on this blog in 2010 after the birth of my first son and suffering from the hives that after all the drugs and creams the doctors gave me nothing worked - until I discovered from a friend of a friend the dandelion root / nettle tea cure. Eliminated my hives and I was able to continue breastfeeding successfully (until my son had teeth popping in left and right at 8 months lol)

      I knew - during the hives - that putting more medicine in my body was working against me. I felt it was a liver issue. And of course more meds don't help the liver. I was astonished at how quickly the dandelion root and nettle tea relieved me of the discomfort and within a week eliminated the hives.

      I can't understand why with such a simple healthy solution available the Commentors posting after me continue to take meds and not try the dandelion root and tea.

      I would like to learn more about your soups - and whatever else u know on this.

      Thank you for the insight into the Eastern way on this

    2. Oh I am due to give birth to my second child any day now and am anticipating the hives again which is why I am back on this website to see if there have been any new insights. Looks like I'll,start drinking thee tea and dandelion root before the hives start.

    3. Good Luck Niki,
      I hope this time around is easier for you too. Keep us posted on how it works for you.
      Congratulations on baby number two

    4. If you don't have access to Chinese herbs, you can still put some great things together.
      The main idea is to clear the womb of old blood and stop the bleeding during the first couple of weeks and only then to tonify blood. You can clear the womb with non-Chinese medicine things such as motherwort, yellow dock and vinegar.

      For the second week on, you tonify blood with the herb Danggui/Dongquai, as well as using beets, spinach, seaweeds, blackstrap molasses, bone marrow broths, liver, licorice, ginger, alfalfa, etc.

      If somebody you know can make you some bone broths and freeze them, that is great. With chicken or beef bones, carrot, onion and celery and a little Dongquai to make it extra blood building - that gets boiled and then simmered in water for about 4 hours (chicken) to 6 hours (beef). About 1/2 hour before the end, adding a bit of apple cider vinegar helps pull the marrow out of the bones and finish the stock. Then it is strained and stored in the fridge or freezer. If you're using chicken, you can scrape the meat off the bones and then store the shredded meat in the fridge as well, to make the soup later. For some of the Korean postpartum soups, an anchovy broth is used...which is just anchovies and a little kelp/seaweed boiled for about 2 hours. It's really important that the soups are made with real homemade broths because these have the blood building marrow and calcium that you need and won't find in store bought broths.

      Around here, we haven't been using a lot of recipes - just doing a basic crockpot soup. Into the crock, we add:
      1 bunch of chopped greens (take your pick: kale, collards, chard, etc)
      Some type of root vegetable (parsnip, beet, yam, potato, celery root, etc) or squash (pumpkin, zucchini, acorn, etc)
      Maybe some mushrooms
      For a gallon-ish sized crock, about 2+ tablespoons of chopped ginger
      Shredded chicken, diced lamb/beef/pork
      The broth and then
      Anything else. Savory herbs are high in calcium, fennel and fenugreek help with milk supply, etc....
      You also need to add soy sauce/tamari or salt to season it. A little miso helps if you need more flavor. I often like to add rice wine vinegar and/or a little wine to these soups. This will help to clean the old blood out of the womb. You should continue to get a little vinegar every day.

      For the Korean seaweed soup, there are plenty of recipes, but this one is pretty simple (I prefer the anchovy stock): http://drbenkim.com/recipes-seaweed-soup.html

      Fish soups are great, though often these don't work so well in the crock pot. Fish head soup, in particular, is a greatly healing soup - if you can eat that and/or find somebody to make it.

      If people are bringing you food, particularly take-out...healthy soups like Vietnamese Pho or Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Kai) (without any spice) can be really great.

      It's VERY important to avoid cold foods, as these can create blood stasis in the womb and vessels and contribute to problems, including blood deficiency (which can create hives). Cold foods include foods that are literally cold as well as things like watermelon, cucumber, peppermint, etc...especially if you have a winter baby.

      I hope that helps a little with the soup stuff.

  6. Thank you for sharing information. I am breastfeeding my 4 month old and he has eczema head to toe. After completing a dairy free gluten free diet, I learned dairy triggers gas issues but neither seem to impact eczema. His doc recommended grain free dairy free egg free diet. Nearly 4-5 days in to it, starting with my arms, I get itchy hives everywhere my son's hair has touched my skin. After reading your post, I wonder if the drastic diet change contributed to flare up. Nothing else changed with my regular intake or environment. His skin seems to be getting better while my skin feel uninhabitable. Lol. Thanks again.