During her first pregnancy, Summer Bostock woke up to what she thought was just a collection of new stretch marks. However, the small marks started to grow and become blotchy. On top of all that, Bostock says that her growing belly became unbearably itchy. Eventually, the rash spread across her entire body and Bostock was diagnosed with polymorphic eruption in pregnancy (PEP).
"I just thought it was normal — but pretty unfair," Bostock told the Daily Mail. "It was so, so itchy. I was in agony."
Unlike most cases of PEP, Bostock's case developed into pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) and spread to her arms and legs, too.
"I can't even tell you just how many doctors I saw to try and find something that would work," Bostock told CafeMom. Eventually, the situation was so bad that she had to be hospitalized. Her doctors had prescribed creams and ointments, but nothing seemed to help. The itching was so bad, in fact, that Bostock would get nauseous and couldn't even shower, since the sensation of water on her itchy bump was intolerable.
Bostock explains that almost immediately after giving birth, the PEP went away. Doctors still aren't sure what causes PEP, but some think that the extreme stretching can lead to inflammation, though most cases aren't as severe as Bostock's. "This is why PUPPP most commonly occurs during first pregnancies or multiple gestation pregnancies," Lauren Ploch, MD, a dermatologist, told Parents.
Good Housekeeping explains that like most women who experience PEP and PUPPP, Bostock didn't experience the symptoms again during her subsequent pregnancies. But even though she didn't have to deal with it again, Bostock is hoping that her story gets shared, so moms going through PEP aren't faced with the confusion and misdiagnoses that she experienced.
"I love that spreading my story is actually helping mums know what they have or even did have," she told CafeMom. "To just put a name to it and know you're not crazy helps!"
Read These Stories Next: