Sour rebounds are something everyone has experienced. The condition has many names. The medical term is GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), others call it heartburn. The symptoms are a burning pain in the upper abdomen and behind the sternum. The problem is caused by abnormal leakage of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. The lining of the stomach can withstand the acid, but the lining of the esophagus is not made to withstand such strong substances. The acid gives a burning and burning sensation, and in some it can lead to inflammation of the esophagus mucosa.
Acid reflux is especially common in pregnant women, especially during the latter part of pregnancy. This is because an ever-larger uterus presses the stomach contents upwards, which can cause acid reflux. Hormone fluctuations in pregnancy also increase the risk of acid reflux.
Heartburn has not been shown to have any effect on the outcome of a pregnancy.
Non-medical treatment options
In most cases, the trouble can be relieved enough by changing lifestyle. This could mean, for example:
- Avoid fatty, smoked or spicy foods.
- In some people, such foods as chocolate, onions, peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauces, citrus fruits and juices can also cause problems
- Avoid great meals
- Avoid extensive physical activity during the first hour after meals
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol and coffee
- Avoid eating the last three to four hours before going to bed
- Raise the head end of the bed. It may be more comfortable to rest in a comfortable armchair than to lie flat
Medical treatment for acid reflux
Sometimes, the advice above is not enough to get enough control over the acid reflux. Then there may be a need for drugs that cushion the problems. It is a good rule that all drug intake during pregnancy should first be discussed with a doctor, midwife or pharmacist. This also applies to non-prescription drugs.
The drugs that help against acid reflux can be divided into three groups:
- This is the first option for the treatment of pregnant women. The reason for this is that alginate is not absorbed into the body, it passes through the intestine. Therefore, the drug never reaches the fetus
- Alginate reacts with acid found in the stomach and forms a foamy viscous jelly that lays as a lid over the contents of the stomach and thus prevents the acidic digestion
- The foam can be uncomfortable and some can cause stomach upset as a side effect
- Acid neutralizing agents:
- Also, this drug group is absorbed into the body to a small extent, and is considered safe for pregnant women
- These are drugs that neutralize the acid in the stomach and when the contents of the stomach come up in the esophagus it does not cause sweating
- Medicines that inhibit the production of stomach acid (H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors):
- Previously, these drug groups were not adequately investigated for pregnant women, but today the proton pump inhibitor Omeprazole is considered safe to use in pregnancy. H2 blockers are also considered safe – though with a little inferior documentation. Sometimes the inconvenience is so great that it can be good to use this drug group
- Drugs like omeprazole can be prescribed to pregnant women with major heartburn problems. According to the knowledge available today, it is safe to use the drug even in early pregnancy.