This page is where we hope to gather information about anything that people with NP have found helps outside of conventional medical treatment. These do not have to be proven to be effective long term or have gone through any form of clinical trial.
Nodular Prurigo International cannot warrant any of these, but feels that it is important to list things that others have found helpful. If you have any remedies that have helped you, please use our contact form to let us know.
Bleach Baths : NPI does not advise anyone to use bleach baths as a way of treating their NP. Bleach (3-6% solution of sodium hypochlorite) contains chlorine in a oxidising form that can damage the skin through defatting and saponification. It is also very irritant especially where there are open sores. We can find no empirical evidence that bleach baths are effective neither are they recommended because the dilution of the bleach will always be uncertain. Undiluted bleach should never be applied to the skin.
1. Himalayan Pink Salts
It has been reported to us that the use of Himalayan Pink Salt (HPS) used in baths is an effective treatment for NP.
HPS is a rock that comes from Pakistan and has been analysed and found to contain 95-96% sodium chloride with an additional 2-3% gypsum (calcium sulphate dihydrate) plus some trace elements. It is whiteish pink in colour and has been marketed by companies in Europe, USA and Australia as HPI since the early 21st. century as a 'health' product and bath salt. It can also be used in cooking
Unquestionably its use in bathing can be a good thing, but our view is that the additional expense of this salt (£4-5 per kilo) is not proportionate to any additional properties over plain sodium chloride (table or cooking salt, £0.5 per kilo). It is up to the individual to decide whether the additional expense is cost effective.
Epsom Salt (magnesium sulphate) can also be used beneficially. As the basis for most commercially produced bath salts it is known to have a softening effect on the skin which could be good for NP sufferers at recommended concentrations (2 cups of Epsom salt to a bath of water).
Pauline writes that yoghurt applied to her skin helps to reduce the itching. She writes:
"What I actually wanted to pass on to see if it helped anyone else was that I have found that live yogurt slapped on and rubbed in stops the itching for me - at least long enough to get to sleep or to stop the immediate scratching. I keep a bowl by the bed and when I wake in the night put some more on. The downside is not that it is messy as rubbed in it isn't, but that you need to leave the covers off for the air to get to it until it cools you down. It was a friend who suggested it as a folk remedy from where she lived in Yugoslavia. I was very doubtful but have to admit it has worked so far! There is a faint smell for a few moments but it soon goes and I guess there are some advantages to living alone!I have also found a few of what must be emotional triggers for example any phone call immediately has me scratching like some possessed dog so I also keep some yogurt by the phone!"
3. Homeopathy & Nutrition
Minna from Finland tells about the benefits she has gained from homeopathis treatment. She writes:
"To me, the key things seem to be: right nutrition to boost the immune system and to make intestines work as they should (this includes elimination of certain allergenic elements, and this varies in all of us). I have taken no treatments except for 4 times PUVA (didn't want it more..), cortisone ointment (3 first months only), Atarax [Hydroxicine], (great help in the beginning), Desloratidine] at daytime.
Two days ago I started to heal the remaining wounds with Ledum Palustre, a homeopathic "pill". If the bumps are still active, one should take Apis, says the homeopathic doctor I visited. She was almost angry to me because I didn't go there when this all started so that the bumps could have been healed earlier.
And then again, lots of water with lemon, lots of fresh greens (mostly avocado, cucumber, salads and herbs with good olive oil) and lots of fish as well, mostly salmon.Lots of luck to you all, I truly hope this helps someone else!!"
4. Histamine Intolerance
13/12/12 - Minna from Finland discusses her thoughts about histamine intolerance in relation to NP.
"It has been studied (Olle Johansson, Stockholm University 2006) that we NP patients have more histamine releasing mast cells than the average, that leads us having more histamine in our body than other people do.
I have tried to find out the different reasons:
1) a damaged gut produces lots of histamine (this is why a personalized diet is a must, usually the main trouble is dairy or gluten. A damaged intestinal flora inhibits the DAO enzyme which should degrade the histamine, it simply cannot do its’ job) You probably also have anemia because the gut cannot absorb iron. Iron drink like Floradix has helped me as it is not too strong for the bowel.
2) certain medications release histamine or inhibit DAO enzyme (there is a list in the net)Antibiotics destroy the intestinal flora as well. Opiates like codeine or relaxants inhibit DAO or release histamine. Many of us are severely allergic to penicillin and ibuprofen. During pregnancy, placenta produces DAO so often you feel OK while pregnant but the itch starts again when the child is born.
3) insect bites release histamine
4) there is too much histamine containing foods in our diet (lists can be found in the net) like alcohol, beef, tuna, canned foods, eggplant, fresh tomato. Processed foods are also not fresh so they gather histamine and contain a lot of unnatural and harmful substances
5) lack of vitamin B6. Without B6 the DAO enzyme is not able to degrade histamine. When we are stressed, we loose vitamin B6. According to a new study (http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2012/05/22/jn.111.153056) low vitamin B6 status has been identified in inflammatory diseases (…)
6) unknown allergies (mine fortified during np) Mine are benzoic acids E210-213, aspartame E951, natriumglutamate E621, celery, strawberries, kiwis
I got rid of itch in a few weeks time, and rid of sores in a couple of months. Before the diet, I used antihistamine Aerius at daytime and Atarax at nighttime (in the beginning I did have a small bite of Atarax even at daytime), cortisone ointment Duocort many times a day and twice at night. I had all my intolerances and allergies tested by an unknown but marvelous Meridian Stress Assessment System. It revealed that I was extremely intolerant to all cow milk products, whereas some goat and sheep cheeses are harmless, their milk however not. There are many ways to check out intolerances – but you may just drop out dairy and gluten if you want to start right away. If you will have a gluten intolerance test done, be sure to ingest gluten according to the instructions otherwise you will not get right results.
In the light of what I have been through this year, I believe that my wrong diet before falling ill was a great part of the reason why I got NP. Together with the greatest stress ever, a few unhealed insect bites, a pain killer (codeine), it made quite a cocktail! I am completely itch free now unless I eat or drink something unsuitable. I haven’t taken antihistamines since April (actually I have a couple of times after mosquito bites, just to prevent trouble).
The connection is so clear that I should be blind not to detect it. In a sense, I am not free of NP. I feel it is like a fire I have managed to put out, but it takes only a match to light it again. I tend to think that we have something more in common, something at a mast cell level, but I am afraid that my capacities on that field are too limited (nonexistent to be honest), I am a ceramist after all! It is important to check out the sources of what is written in the net. A lot of information is available, not to talk about opinions! I do realize that my story is very personal and it remains as such as long as there will be a study on this all. All of our experiences are personal but that is why we have this kind of a support group where thoughts are being shared with sincerity and good will. It is so funny sometimes, I feel like a detective but starting from the solution! I found out the answer, but I am looking for the reasons that led to it! I am not saying to leave off your medication, I don’t have any experience on them. We all are responsible for what we take and don’t take or eat and not eat. There are many people in this group with years of experience, they will know better, but you decide.
If anyone feels like contacting me, feel free, I’d be happy to help. If there are Finns or anyone from the neighbouring countries, welcome to see me and if you like, I’ll get you an appointment with the MSAS practitioner who now has some insight with my condition and will get you a diet and vitamins that are suitable for you. Another solution could be looking for a good nutritionist or homeopath interested in nutrition. Good luck to all of you!"
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