Friday, April 12, 2013

A tale of Stretch Marks!

Everybody hates stretch marks.  We get them when we gain weight.  We get them when we get pregnant.  And, oh, how unsightly they are!  But guess what?  They can be far worse as any Cushie knows.  Here is a meme I picked off of Face book which shows fairly normal postpartum stretch marks, the most typical for women:

And the worse a woman is likely to see if they maintain anything like normal weight is here:

Sorry about the language.

  Those are more typically called striae and there’s a reason a woman will end up with those during pregnancy and keep them post-partum.  When I sat through anatomy and physiology class the professor teaching the class revealed something a little unexpected at the time about pregnancy.  During pregnancy women typically experience a rise in cortisol levels and actually develop Cushing’s during their pregnancies.  The body’s response serves the purpose of providing tissue mass to support and protect the developing child during the pregnancy.  Consequently women will develop stretch marks during the pregnancy and keep them after.

However, for those who suffer from any variant of Cushing’s the situation typically becomes worse.  The stretch marks get bigger, wider and will often turn anything from pink to purple.  One of my friends let me use this image of her striae showing how wide they can get:

And here are links to more images of Cushing’s striae:

What can you do about the striae, nothing much.  Put skin lotion on them and accept them for what they are, a symptom of a much bigger problem.  If you’re big enough that you will be losing a ton of weight when you’re cured you may be a candidate for having some skin removed, that will remove most of the striae with the trade-off of some surgical scarring unless a really skilled plastic surgeon handles the procedure.  The striae just make us resemble our namesakes, the zebras, more than most folks with rare diseases.

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