Stretch marks during pregnancy are developed due to the stretching of the skin. Skin stretches due to the increase in the bulk of uterus. Pregnancy stretch marks can be usually found on the lower part of abdomen, sides of abdomen, buttocks, thighs and on the breasts.
This condition is medically termed as Striae gravidarum. Striae means stretching or stretch marks. Gravidarum refers to pregnancy.
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In Ayurveda we come across a condition called ‘Kikkisa’. While commenting on the word, the Ancient Ayurvedic expert commentator Indu (Shashilekha commentary on Ashtanga sangraha-shareera 3/9) explained that these are the linear demarcations over the skin surface of the pregnant lady.
According to Sanskrit derivation, that condition which cause stretches, itching, burning or discomfort is called Kikkisa.
Kikkisati anena iti Kikkisaha.
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Pregnancy stretch marks – Dosha involvement:
According to Ayurveda, stretch marks have Pitta and Kapha imbalance in them.
Kapha involvement causes itching and Pitta causes burning sensation.
Usually in few of the individuals these stretch marks are subsided by its own, after few months of delivery. Whereas in a few, it remains for few more months or permanently.
Although, itching and burning are completely subsided after delivery, as a cosmetic point of view it needs to be attended to.
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Ayurvedic medicines, remedies
Ayurvedic Medicines and remedies for striae gravidarum:
‘Prevention is better than cure’ rule also applies here. Beginning with the pregnancy, if the mother applies Sesame oil over the prone areas, 10 minutes before bath, then the skin stretching will happen without leaving any marks behind. Sesame oil improves the quality of the skin.
For better results, following oils can be used to apply to the prone areas –
Parts where the oil is to be applied:
Lower abdomen, sides of abdomen, buttocks, thighs and breasts.
1. Sesame oil + almond oil – 50 % each. This will improve the skin tone, along with preventing the stretch marks.
2. Sesame oil – 100 ml + 5 grams of turmeric – Mix it. Heat it in low flame for exactly 2 minutes. Stop heating it. Keep it in air tight container. This is very useful in people with skin problems.
3. Sesame oil – 100 ml + 10 ml of Kumkumadi taila – It is also very good for improving skin complexion, to attend to skin diseases.
4. Nalpamaradi oil – a ready made oil available in the market for skin diseases. Very good to prevent stretch marks as well.
5. Jujube oil application. Also useful for good skin health.
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External application remedies: to apply externally:
The below mentioned formulas are useful both for prevention and treatment purposes. Since these are meant for external application, they are safe to apply during pregnancy. However seek your doctors advice before trying them.
1. A diluted decoction prepared with Khadira (Acacia catechu) is used for bath daily. Learn how to prepare it easily
2. 10 grams of each of neem, Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) and Tulsi (Holy basil) mixed with 1 litre of water, boiled and reduced to 500 ml. Filtered.
This liquid is used for irrigation over breast and abdomen. Or the tub bath can be added with 25 grams of each of the above.
The tub bath or washing may be carried with the decoction licorice and tree turmeric.
In case of severe itching, fine powder mix of sandalwood, neem and Khadira (Acacia catechu) can be rubbed over these lesions. A thick paste of the above can be made by adding small quantities of water.
Any one of the following medicated paste can be applied over stretch mark areas:
Fine paste of Sandalwood, Usheera (Vetiver).
Oil prepared out of the leaves of Karaveera (Nerium indicum) and Karanja (Pongamia pinnata).
Fine paste of the stem bark of Shirisha (Albizia lebbek), flowers of Dhataki (Woodfordia fruticoa), Sarshapa (Brassica juncea) and Yastimadhu (Glyccirrhiza glabra).
Consult your doctor before trying any of the below.
100 grams of butter mixed with 20 grams of jujube fruit / fruit powder – administered in a dose of 5 – 10 grams per day. The same can also be used for external application.
Butter added with licorice powder.
Ghee mixed with Daruharidra (Tree turmeric) powder.
Sugar candy powder mixed with ghee and turmeric powder.
Kamadugha with mouktika.
Muktashukti pishti etc.
zinc-rich foods – nuts and fish.
Include more of milk, carrots, citrus fruits, egg.
Use of Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter: Application of cocoa butter in your abdominal area will help you in not developing a single stretch mark on your tummy. This butter is also available in the form of lotion, cream, and salve. Shea butter can also be used for healing burns and also as an anti-ageing cream.
Use of Turmeric: make a paste of a teaspoon of turmeric with 3 teaspoons of sesame oil / olive oil / coconut oil. apply it over the stretch mark area during pregnancy or after delivery, 10 minutes before bath everyday.
Wholesome diet to get rid of striae gravidarum:
The diet should be sweet and light in nature. All Vata pacifying measures are encouraged. Regular application / massage of medicated oils like Neem oil, Karanja oil or plain sesame oil is found to be beneficial.
Fat and salt free or reduced amount of these are recommended. Intake of small amount of Luke warm water repeatedly is advised throughout.
Vitamin E rich foods – Sunflower seed, almond, pine nuts, peanuts, spinach, taro root, flaxseed oil, soyabean, pistachio, Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers.
Precautions in case of Kikkisa (Striae gravidarum)
Do not scratch on the area. It worsens the stretch marks and it may cause wounds which may leave white scars.
Overall, if you can apply a very thin layer of above-said oil combinations, then you can prevent getting stretch marks. If you already have got them, some oral administration of herbal remedies along with external application can help you get rid of them.
Avoid self medication and seek your doctor’s advice.
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Addition by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Kikkisa – Causes, Signs And Symptoms, Treatment
Contraction of skin leading to the formation of lines or linear scars on the abdomen and other parts of the body is called kikkisa.
The women say that due to the growth of scalp hair of the fetus in the 7th month of pregnancy, the mother experiences vidaha or burning sensation. This results in the development of kikkisa.
Atreya disagrees with this opinion and tells that, growing fetus displaces the doshas in upward direction. Thus, these displaced vata, pitta and kapha on reaching the chest (Charaka) or heart (Vagbhata) produce burning sensation. This causes itching. Due to itching kikkisa is formed.
According to Chakrapani, the growth of scalp hair of fetus cannot be the cause of kikkisa. This is because the scalp hair in fetus starts developing from the third month itself.
Arunadatta has included burning sensation of palm and sole as symptoms of kikkisa.
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Ayurvedic remedies for Kikkisa, Striae gravidarum (Cha.Shaa.8/32, A.Sam.Sha.3/10, A.Hr.Sha.1)
Madhura gana siddha navanita – butter processed with madhura group of herbs should be given to the pregnant woman frequently. It should be given in the dose of panitala dose (approximately 20 grams).
Badari twak siddha navanita – butter processed with stem bark of jujube and group of sweet taste herbs should be given to the pregnant woman.
External applications –
1. For application
Any one of the below mentioned should be rubbed over the abdomen (tummy) and breasts as a remedy for kikkisa –
– Paste of chandana (sandalwood) and mrunala (lotus)
– Paste of chandana (sandalwood) and ushira (Vetiveria zizanioides)
– Paste of bark of kutaja (Holarrhena antidysenterica), seeds of arjaka (Orthosiphon pallidus Royle), musta (Cyperus rotundus) and haridra (turmeric)
– Paste of leaves of nimbi (neem), badari (jujube) and surasa (holy basil) and manjishta (Rubia cordifolia)
– Triphala, pestled and made paste with blood of prshata or ena deers and rabbit
– Triphala paste mixed with blood of rabbit
– Powdered stem bark of shirisha (Albizia lebbeck), flowers of dhataki (Woodfordia fruticosa), sarshapa (mustard) and madhuyashti (licorice)
– Water prepared and processed with punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa), flowers of malati (Jasmine) and madhuyashti (licorice) and mixed with blood of deer and rabbit
– Oil prepared with pestled leaves of karavira (Nerium indicum) alone or with karavira and karanja (Pongamia pinnata) should be used for massage
Read – Ayurvedic Herbal Pastes – Kalka Uses, Preparation, Examples
2. For sprinkling or irrigation
Any of the below mentioned should be used to sprinkle or irrigate the abdomen and breasts –
– Decoction of patola (pointed gourd), nimbi (neem), manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) and surasa (basil)
– Decoction of leaves and flowers of malati (jasmine) and madhuka (licorice)
– Repeated irrigation or cleansing with decoction of daruharidra (Berberis aristata) and madhuka (licorice)
3. Other tips
One should not scratch even when there is urge to itch in the regions of kikkisa. This prevents disfigurement of skin or stretching of skin. If the itching is intolerable and irresistible the above mentioned powders should be rubbed or anointment of pastes or bath of medicated water should be taken, especially with those including sandalwood. This would suppress itching sensation as it induces coolness in the areas of kikkisa.
The beneficial diet for kikkisa would be that which is –
– sweet in taste
– capable of suppressing vata
– fat and salt free diet or diet inclusive of little fat and salt
– light food taken repeatedly in small amounts followed by intake of water in little quantity
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