Have you ever broken a bone? When I was little, I broke my right foot. I was young, but I still remember the cast. And I remember the itchiness. Oh, man! That’s the biggest thing I remember!
It’s super-annoying to have an itch you can’t scratch. And if you’re a new mama with a c-section scar on the mend, you must resist the urge to scratch too.
Is it normal, though? You bet! The nerves in the area of your incision are working on healing. So itching, even some numbness, are all normal as you recover.
I’m going to get into why they itch and what’s going on here to help you out, plus I’ve got some suggestions for how to get some relief, so keep reading!
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The Reason Your Body Scars
Ok, you know you’ve been under the knife, but most people don’t understand the science of scars. Scarring is a healthy and natural process your body goes through when there’s a cut on your skin or an incision. The human body is impressive in that it triggers an emergency response team of collagen to come on out and rebuild at the site of damage.
Scars form in different ways. You likely have some from falling off your bike or some other activity in your youth that appear flat and pale. Some scars appear raised, though (known as keloids), while others can look sunken in, which can happen from surgery.
Don’t be so sad..
Regardless of how it looks now, it will look better as time goes on. You can’t see mine unless you get up really close. In any bikini I’ve worn since then, the material covers it up anyway.
But for you, new mama with the scars, the itchiness is from those sensitive nerves. Even if you’re like me and have been healed up for years, you may itch on your scar at times. This itching could be from skin feeling tight or any changes to your weight or skin. When my skin became overly dry in general, mine felt itchy. Also, after I lost some weight, it itched too.
What Can I Do to Stop My C-section Scar from Itching?
The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to keep from being distracted by a constant itch on your c-section scar.
Here’s what you can do:
- Use skin creams or oils – Coconut oil and cocoa butter are great ways to moisturize safely and get some relief. If your scar is older, you can use vitamin E oil, though don’t do this if you’re the bearer of a new c-section scar. You can also find stuff that’s made for c-sections!
- Cover it – Silicone sheet bandages that you can find just about anywhere, and they can really help speed up scar recovery.
- Massage it – Massages can help flatten the scar and soften it up. Initially, this might be painful in the first few weeks. You should wait a little while until touching the area no longer hurts. Using small, circular motions, you can help heal your new c-section scar though if you’ve had the scar for a year or two already, this won’t really help.
- Try sunburn cream – For really extensive itching, my friend Alanna swears by sunburn cream. I haven’t tried it myself, but she said it was the only thing that worked for her.
- Use an ice pack – One thing I will attest to is that an ice pack works wonders. You can use the ones from your picnic coolers or even bag up some ice into a zippered bag. Just wrap it in a clean towel before applying it. Then try to relax for a good 10 minutes, and you should feel less itchy.
Oh, and before I forget, once you are able to go outdoors and into the sun, please remember to protect your skin around the c-section scar. You don’t want hyperpigmentation making it more noticeable or burning that causes your skin to itch and flake off.
Itching to Know About Other Post-Delivery Itching?
Sometimes, it’s not just your c-section scar that will itch. You may find you’re itching in other places too. It is very common to feel itchy all over the whole body, on your face, in and around your vagina, and even have a rash.
So what’s the deal with this?
If you’re in the hospital or freshly out, even up to a few weeks, much of this could be side effects or allergic reactions to the codeine or other drugs you’re given for pain management. I remember feeling very itchy on my arms, often at the site where my IV was hooked up.
This itching does go away in time, but you can remedy it with some calming moisturizing lotion. If you can’t reach the parts that itch on your back or your legs, have your husband help. Don’t put any lotion in or on your vagina, though!
If your vaginal itching is driving you mad, talk to your doctor. He or she can get you the right hydrocortisone cream to help. Hormones are indeed a factor, so the doctor is the best person to reach out to if you have this kind of itching that won’t cease.
And speaking of the doctor…
Is my itchy c-section scar an emergency?
In most cases, it’s not a matter of urgency. But if you keep itching your c-section scar over-zealously, you could create a breeding ground for bacteria, which could lead to an infection. You should be monitoring how your scar looks in the days and weeks following your c-section.
An emergency that would need prompt attention would include redness, feeling hot to the touch, and swelling. However, if the itchiness you have on your c-section scar or elsewhere on your body is making it hard for you to enjoy life or it feels so tight, it’s painful, then you should consult your doctor.
Years down the road, if it starts bothering you, you should make an appointment, too just to be sure there are no underlying health issues. It’s most often due to a change in your skin or weight, though.
And if you feel uncomfortable with how your scar looks, you can always discuss ways to correct it that are more invasive in nature. It’s not recommended to do this when you’re in the early stages of healing, though.
Feeling itchy is normal. Whether it’s the incision itself or your meds, you’re bound to feel a little itchy head to toe. It’s even normal years down the line if you’ve had changes to your skin, which may make it more parched. That dry heat from the furnace can take its toll, so be sure to hydrate your skin properly, inside and out. Weight loss will do it to you too.
But new or old, if you ever notice your incision site looks funky, call your doctor and have it checked out. If there is anything wrong, they’ll be able to get to the bottom of this and ensure your best health!