Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Op. Dr. Meral Sönmezer gave important information about the subject. While the most common health problems experienced during pregnancy are stomach related problems, the most common stomach problem is reflux. We call it reflux when stomach acid backs up from the stomach to the esophagus. Reflux is manifested by the bitter-sour taste in the mouth and the complaints of burning in the chest. There are many reasons that trigger the occurrence of reflux, which can be seen in most women during pregnancy.
What causes pregnancy reflux?
The main cause of reflux; It is a decrease in the pressure of the valve located between the esophagus and the stomach. Therefore, in cases where the gastric valve cannot fulfill its function, reflux will be inevitable since the food eaten cannot be prevented from escaping back into the esophagus. The female reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen have the effect of lowering the pressure of the gastric valve. Hormonal changes and increased progesterone hormone, especially during pregnancy, are the leading causes of reflux during pregnancy. In the later stages of pregnancy, the increase in intra-abdominal pressure with the enlargement of the uterus and its pressure on the stomach also increase the complaints of reflux. Reflux, which was not seen before pregnancy but started to appear with pregnancy, often disappears spontaneously with the conclusion of pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of reflux during pregnancy?
- Heartburn – burning
- burning in the throat,
- burning in the chest,
- Bitter-sour water coming into the mouth,
- Bad breath
- persistent cough,
- difficulty swallowing,
- A feeling of being stuck in the throat
How is reflux treatment in pregnancy?
Lifestyle changes come first in the treatment of reflux problem during pregnancy. Lifestyle changes and diet program to be applied with the advice of a doctor will provide an effective solution for the reflux problem experienced during pregnancy. The changes that expectant mothers can implement in their lives to reduce the effect of pregnancy reflux are:
- Meals should be eaten in small quantities and at frequent intervals.
- Meals should be eaten slowly and chewed well.
- Liquid intake at meal should be avoided.
- Food consumption should be stopped at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- A suitable diet program should be chosen in order not to gain too much weight during pregnancy.
- Fat content should be reduced in the diet, spicy foods and fried foods should be avoided.
- Since chocolate, mint, caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, soda), tomatoes and citrus fruits can trigger reflux, these foods should be consumed as little as possible.
- Smoking and alcohol should be strictly avoided.
- Care should be taken to drink plenty of fluids between meals.
In addition, chewing sugar-free gum after meals increases saliva production and acts as a protector in the esophagus. In case of heartburn, consuming yogurt and milk or consuming a warm herbal tea with honey will help reduce your reflux complaints. In addition, in your sleeping position, you should take care to keep your back high and lie on your left side.
There are some drugs that can be used in cases where lifestyle changes and food precautions are insufficient and in the presence of reflux that continues to impair your quality of life despite taking the necessary precautions. In this case, you should first consult a doctor. In the treatment of reflux, antacids with the least risk are used first. Antacids, which neutralize the acid environment of the stomach and create a barrier on the stomach, are very useful and safe in relieving symptoms, and do not harm the baby. While most of these drugs are in syrup form, some are in chewable tablet form and are used after meals. However, since antacids containing high levels of sodium may cause fluid retention and cause edema, and antacids containing aluminum may cause constipation, the use of this group of antacids should definitely be avoided during pregnancy. If the antacids used are also ineffective in solving the problem, you can use two groups of drugs called H2 receptor antagonists or proton pump inhibitors with the recommendation of your obstetrician. All these drugs should only be used with the knowledge and approval of your doctor. Therefore, for your and your baby's health, you should avoid using drugs without the approval of your doctor.