Background: Despite an expected high prevalence of pregnancy-mask in the Negroid tropical environments, only a few women present to the physicians with this condition in Enugu. It is unclear whether this is due to low prevalence or poor awareness of the condition.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence, awareness and treatment of pregnancy-mask among Igbo women in Enugu, Nigeria.
Method: The study was a cross-sectional survey of pregnant women in Enugu; South-East Nigeria. The study sample consisted of the first 500 consecutive eligible pregnant women seen at the antenatal clinic of a tertiary health care facility. Socio-demographic data was obtained and the women were examined for site, size and treatments for pregnancy mask.
Results: The prevalence of pregnancy-mask was 8.6%. Increasing gestational age was significantly associated with increased prevalence rate (P=0.037). Only 11.6% of those who had pregnancy-mask knew that it was related to pregnancy. Among those who had the lesion in the index pregnancy, 46.5% had applied some treatments to the lesion. The commonly used treatments were anti-fungal ointments (45%), bleaching creams (35%), herbal preparations (15%) and sunscreen (5%).
Conclusions: It is concluded that pregnancy-mask has low prevalence and poor awareness among the Igbo women in Enugu and is commonly misdiagnosed. Antifungal and bleaching creams are the common treatment while sunscreen is poorly used. Teaching of this condition in pre-service schools is recommended in order to improve its knowledge among health workers thereby improving its awareness and management in the community.
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