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; plus, I’ve got some suggestions for getting some relief, so keep reading!
If you have a rash on your stomach, read more about it here.
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 and rebuild at the site of damage.
Scars form in different ways. You likely have some from falling off your bike or another activity in your youth that appears flat and pale. Some scars appear raised (known as keloids), while others can look sunken, 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 itchiness is from those sensitive nerves for you, a new mama with the scars. Even if you’re like me and have been healed for years, you may itch on your scar sometimes. This itching could be from the 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 you can do plenty of things 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 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 – My friend Alanna swears by sunburn cream for extensive itching. 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 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, please remember to protect your skin around the c-section scar once you can go outdoors and into the sun. You don’t want hyperpigmentation making it more noticeable or burning, which 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 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 in my arms, often at the site where my IV was hooked up.
This itching goes away in time, but you can remedy it with 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! However, if your vagina seems to dry out while breastfeeding, head over to read about the causes.
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 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 monitor your scar in the days and weeks following your c-section.
An emergency needing prompt attention would include redness, feeling hot to the touch, and swelling. However, if the itchiness on your c-section scar or elsewhere on your body makes it hard for you to enjoy life or it feels so tight that it’s painful, 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.
And if you feel uncomfortable with how your scar looks, you can always discuss ways to correct it that are more invasive. Doing this is not recommended when you’re in the early stages of healing.
Feeling itchy is normal. You can feel a little itchy head to toe, whether it’s the incision itself or your meds. 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!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.