Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Research into effective alternative therapies for treating cholestasis of pregnancy is lacking, so doctors and other pregnancy care providers generally don't recommend alternative therapies.

One alternative therapy being studied for cholestasis of pregnancy is S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), a naturally occurring substance. You can get it through an injection into your muscle or through a vein (intravenously). Some evidence suggests that it may help relieve itching, though the risks to mother and baby of such an approach aren't well known. When compared with ursodiol in preliminary trials, SAMe wasn't as effective. Given that the way you take the medicine can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, its safety is unknown, and it doesn't appear to work as well as other more established medicines, doctors are hesitant to recommend it as a treatment.

Other alternative therapies, including guar gum, activated charcoal, milk thistle and dandelion root, are also being studied, but there's no evidence that these therapies work or are safe for pregnant women to take.

Always check with your doctor or health care provider before trying an alternative therapy, especially if you're pregnant.

Aug. 16, 2014