Since I was in elementary school, I’ve had an itchy, noncontagious rash. For years it would just pop up behind my knees, almost like heat rash. It was worst in the summer and so I called them my “summer bumps.” They were inconvenient but I tolerated them.
Then I got pregnant with Isaac (my oldest). The “summer bumps” turned into a full-body rash that lasted my entire pregnancy.
From neck to foot, I was covered in itchy bumps. I had to take Benadryl at night just to sleep because I was always scratching. Doctors thought it was PUPPS, something dermatitis or eczema. There was never a consistent answer and one steroid cream helped some.
Within hours of Isaac being born, they were virtually gone.
This happened again when I got pregnant with Eva and has continued until now. I thought it was hormonal, but it remained after I had the babies and after weaning as well (that one month when I was neither pregnant or breastfeeding).
From 2007-2011 it was concentrated on my stomach, lower back and chest as well as behind my knees.
After talking to new friends, reading numerous blog posts and researching a ton (thank you God for all of the info that coincidentally popped up at the same time) I discovered that it was dietary; most likely yeast and I needed to stop eating sugar and gluten.
Right before Christmas 2010 I got a new rash on my elbows that took over the insides of my arms. The rash also went from being just itchy to itchy and painful.
After that, I decided that it was time to get rid of the rash and make the changes necessary to end this miserable itching.
I quickly found that I needed to cut out all grains (rash got worse and made my stomach hurt) and on the one day that I cheated with half a pretzel and half a hamburger bun, I was in terrible stomach pain for the rest of the day and the next morning. No gluten for me, thanks.
In addition to the rash, I’ve also struggled with depression, fatigue and almost-daily stomach pain. So, in addition to cutting out irritating foods, I’m also adding in a good probiotic to help restore my normal gut flora and cod liver oil for the vitamin A and D.
Did I just pull all of this stuff out of the blue? No. Much of what I learned came from the GAPS diet, a dietary treatment plan developed by a British doctor to help heal her son of autism.
The diet also works for people with depression, asthma, schizophrenia, Celiacs, eczema, Candidiasis and more illnesses.
So why am I sharing this with you? It took me hours and hours of searching and lots of prayer to learn that I’m suffering because of a damaged gut and that this rash is a symptom of that. I want to help anyone out there who is in the same boat, sick of being misdiagnosed and desperate for relief.
Update: The rash is gone. After much experimentation, I know that the rash comes with gluten, sugar, corn and milk (though I can eat yogurt, cheese and butter). However, after implementing the above suggestions, particularly the Lifelong Vitality Pack, I can eat small amounts sourdough bread with no issues. I also can eat natural sweeteners.
Here’s Part 2 on how I’ve been able to stay strong on this difficult path to healing.