Managing Symptoms


Self Help

Self Help for Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)

Please note the information on this page are self-help tips that women with (ICP) Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy found helpful. Please note the medicine Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA/Urso) helps to treat, manage and improve ICP, meanwhile the below are complementary self-helps to reduce and relieve discomforts from the itching.

Eating a Healthy Diet

Many women with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy notice eating a healthier diet helps reduce the severity of the itching experienced. To help the liver detoxify the body, the best food to eat is nutrient-dense foods that are low in toxins. Please refer to the Healthy Diet Page. Please keep in mind there is no way to prevent or cure and once you are diagnosed there is no reversing ICP with a healthy diet.

Please seek additional information from professional herbalists, naturopathic doctors, and nutritionists specializing to heal the body with real food and supplements. Women with ICP have benefited from Milk Thistle and Dandelion Root or Tea.

Drink Plenty of Water

It is important for women with ICP – Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy to drink water. Water helps to flush toxins out of the body and helps the body systems work more efficiently. If you do not like plain water add a half squeezed lemon.

Low Stress Levels

As with any pregnancy, stress should be kept at a minimum. Women with ICP – Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy noticed high stress situations increase their itching. It helps to maintain as low of a stress level as possible. Try meditation to help reduce stress.

Exercise routine

Incorporating an exercise routine during pregnancy and after pregnancy is recommended by experts. It helps women both physically and mentally. There are many options including Yoga, Zumba, walking, dancing, swimming, and stretching. Please always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program during pregnancy.

Eliminate External Irritants

Although ICP – Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy itching is caused by internal irritants; it certainly doesn’t help to have dry, irritated skin. The following is a list of suggestions to reduce external irritants to the skin: Sarna lotion (cool it in frig), keep skin moisturized, keep legs shaved and smooth, keep environment moist with a humidifier, wear cool & loose cotton clothing, keep temperatures low to keep blood flow slower, sleep with a fan, use ice-packs and cool baths for comfort, body brushing brush to shower, reduce bedding and linens at night, and use soft cotton slip covers on furniture when sitting.

Essential Oils

The following links can be helpful on questions for the use of essential oils during pregnancy. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy pregnancy safety information.

You can read additional information here Learning About Essential oils and Nourishing Treasures Anti Itch spray.

Antihistamines and Lotions

Antihistamines are medicines used to treat allergies and hypersensitive reactions. There is no evidence to prove that antihistamines such as Benedryl help in ICP, and many women with ICP do not receive much relief from itching when taken. There are lotions such as Sarna which have a cooling effect on the skin and may provide temporary relief. Sarna lotion is a menthol lotion many itchymoms find soothing. It does not reduce the bile acids and is not a treatment, but rather a topical help for the itching. Many women find that rubbing the Sarna lotion and then sitting in front of a fan helps to cool and soothe. You may also try other options like Aveeno and Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap. You can speak to your pharmacist to make an aqueous cream with 1-2% menthol. In the UK, there is a product called Dermacool to temporarily help relieve the itch.

Other options

A Healthcare provider can prescribe Vistaril – Hydroxyzine.

Personal and Household products

  • The skin is the largest organ of the human body and absorbs personal care products as well as household products used. Below are helpful tips on products to use to reduce exposure to toxins.
  • Paraben free personal care products such as lotions, body wash, make up, shampoos and conditioners. The reason is that parabens mimic estrogen in the body which ICP women already have an issue with this condition. Choose natural safe alternatives.
  • Cleaning products from eco-friendly companies for a clean toxic chemical-free home.

Visit ICP Care on Pinterest to review the Healthy Diet Board and Healthy Recipe Board.

Please review the Helpful Products & Books page