How is cholestasis of pregnancy diagnosed?
A diagnosis of cholestasis of pregnancy is confirmed by blood tests that show elevated levels of bile acids or liver enzymes in the body, or that measure liver function.
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Cholestasis is a condition in which the flow of bile from the liver is slowed, causing a build-up of bile acids in the body. It may occur in the later stages of pregnancy and the most notable symptom is intense itching.
The most common symptom of cholestasis of pregnancy is an intense, persistent itch. It is not associated with a rash, although the skin may be red and irritated from scratching. Unlike most other causes of itching, cholestasis of pregnancy …
The exact causes of cholestasis of pregnancy are unclear. It is likely that genetics and the hormones produced in pregnancy play an important role. Environmental factors such as the weather may also play a part, as it can be more common in winter.
A medication called ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is commonly prescribed to improve the flow of bile and liver function. It can help to reduce itching. Women with cholestasis of pregnancy will often be monitored more closely during pregnancy because …
Cholestasis of pregnancy normally resolves in the days and weeks after birth. Women who have had the condition in one pregnancy are very likely to be affected in future pregnancies.
Avoiding hot water, and instead bathing skin in cool water can help to manage itching. Applying icepacks wrapped in cloth (to avoid skin damage from the cold) can also help to temporarily soothe itching.
Cholestasis of pregnancy cannot be prevented. However, if you have previously had the condition, or members of your family have, it is important to seek appropriate antenatal care during your pregnancy.
For the mother, the symptoms of cholestasis of pregnancy can be very unpleasant, but they will normally resolve without causing ongoing health problems. However, because the condition can slightly increase the risk of serious complications to the baby, …