Acid reflux is actually common among pregnant women. In fact, 1 in 4 pregnant women experience symptoms associated with acid reflux, such as heartburn, all throughout their pregnancy. The condition is also considered a pregnancy side effect and affects a third of all pregnant women. The good news is, acid reflux normally goes away after pregnancy. If this doesn't happen in your case though, there is always treatment available after proper diagnosis.
Why Do Pregnant Women Have Acid Reflux?
There is a number of reasons as to why there is a link between acid reflux and pregnancy. The three main reasons for acid reflux during pregnancy are hormones, weight gain and pressure.
- Hormones - in a pregnant woman's body tend to rise dramatically. When this happens, more acid is produced in the stomach, causing acid reflux. The hormones estrogen and progesterone may cause constipation and slower digestion, which in turn may worsen the symptoms of acid reflux. Furthermore, these hormones may also weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, making it easy for stomach acid to enter the esophagus.
- Weight gain -caused by pregnancy can contribute to hiatial hernias, a condition in which a part of the stomach extends beyond the diaphragm. As a result, acid tends to reach the esophagus.
- Pressure - builds inside the stomach as the baby grows. As a result, food is sometimes pushed through the diaphragm along with stomach acid. Thus, acid reflux occurs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux In Pregnant Women?
Vomiting and Nausea - During the first trimester of pregnancy, women often feel like vomiting or nauseated. For other women, these symptoms can go on for up to 9 months. These symptoms are said to be mainly caused by the rise of hormone levels in the pregnant woman's body. Those with worse cases of acid reflux may develop malnutrition. Pregnant women who already had acid reflux before pregnancy are more likely to have worse cases of reflux compared to those who never had the condition before.
What Are Available Treatments?
Antacids - If drugs are necessary, a doctor may prescribe antacids and H2 blockers. These medications mainly act to neutralize acid levels in the stomach and reduce discomfort. However, there are other kinds of treatment that can be applied during pregnancy. These include lifestyle changes such as having a special diet, elevating the head while sleeping, and staying fit.
Treatment Challenge - Treatment for acid reflux during pregnancy is often more challenging because most medications are not recommended to pregnant women. The welfare of both the mother and unborn child is often the focus when doctors recommend medication. Furthermore, drug interaction may occur if the pregnant woman is already taking other drugs. Treatment for acid reflux and pregnancy is either a good or bad combination. This is why you should always speak with your doctor first for the most suitable treatment for you.
Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Many people are unclear as to why it is afflicting them or even if they have such a disease. Many patients suffer for years with it, thinking they only have indigestion or heart burn. In this article we will discuss some of the more common questions dealing with acid reflux.
How do I know if I have it?
The only way to know if you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), otherwise known as acid reflux, is by seeing a health professional. Your family physician will assess your condition and will most likely refer you to a gastroenterologist for further diagnosis. The gastroenterologist will place a catheter into your esophagus and measure the amount of acid and bile coming into your esophagus and then determine if you truly have acid reflux disease.
Can anyone, regardless of age, have acid reflux?
It is not picky about the age, ethnicity or religious viewpoint. It can strike anyone at any age. There are factors that can increase your likelihood of developing it. It is important that if you are suffering from repeat attacks of heartburn or indigestion to seek out the advice of your physician.
How is it treated in adults?
The first step in treatment is sleeping position. Gravity can be your friend or your foe. By sleeping at an incline, the acid can flow back down the esophageal tube. The next step is to change the size of your meal.
The larger your stomach distends to make room for food, the less room there is for the digestive fluids. Eat smaller portions and this will help alleviate the symptoms. Also look at your diet. Some foods are known to promote reflux. You should avoid ingesting peppermint, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine.
If you have followed these recommendations and are still having acid reflux then the doctor may have you take medicine specifically designed for treating it. One thing you should remember is this: there is no cure for it and you will always have to battle flare-ups. In the case of reflux in which nothing seems to be working, the doctor may have to operate.
Does smoking and being overweight affect acid reflux?
Smoking is detrimental to your health. It damages every single system in the body. The irritation from smoke breaks down the delicate tissues of your throat. When the acid pushes its way up it will come in contact with these places thus irritating and eroding the lining further.
Being overweight is similar to smoking in that it affects every system of your body. With acid reflux it is a pressure game. The more pressure put onto the stomach, either internal or external, the less room there is for the acid and bile.
Fatty deposits, such as those found in the bulk surrounding the waist, put pressure onto the stomach. Losing weight is a great way to help ease the flare ups of it.
What are the long term effects of acid reflux if it is not controlled?
Uncontrolled acid reflux can be deadly. It may be hard to fathom heartburn or indigestion actually killing you but it certainly can. Untreated or uncontrolled of it can cause the throat to become narrower, ulcers and even cancer.
It can also keep the throat irritated and contribute to asthma and coughing. Your respiratory system can suffer as well with the liquid reflux going down into the lungs causing choking, inflammation and infection. It is not something that can go ignored for long. If you suffer from acid reflux it is important to stay abreast of treatment methods.
Both Richal Peyton & Mike Selvon are contributors for EditorialToday. The above articles have been edited for relevancy and timeliness. All write-ups, reviews, tips and guides published by EditorialToday.com and its partners or affiliates are for informational purposes only. They should not be used for any legal or any other type of advice. We do not endorse any author, contributor, writer or article posted by our team.
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