Hyperemesis Gravidarum

 

HYPEREMESIS GRAVIDARUM

I can talk to you first-hand about this debilitating condition after having it for the guts of 7 months with my second son. That was 16 years ago but I remember it as if it was yesterday because it traumatised me so much.

For me it started really early on in the pregnancy, before I even did a pregnancy test ! But as time went on, it just got worse and worse. I found it impossible to keep anything down, not even water. I could barely walk up the stairs with the lack of energy. Everything was a huge struggle because I had no fuel in my body to keep me going. What I never knew was, that morning, or should I say, “all day” sickness could be so bad. It was like having a bad tummy bug for 7 months. Even doing my shop online initiated a bout of nausea when I was on the meat aisle 🤣🤣. What was also very difficult was  my inability to plan anything in advance because I just didn’t know if it was going to be an okay day, or a bad day.  Also, I didn’t feel great in the car. The slightest bump in the road could initiate that dreadful feeling.

My Fears

The one fear I had at this time, was for the life of my unborn baby. The experts tell you about all the nutrients and good foods you need to be taking in to support this new life inside you. The guilt and fear I felt for not being able to keep anything down, was huge and also for the fact that I had not been taking Folic Acid or any multi-vitamin beforehand, as this little baby had not been planned.  However, thankfully the growing baby got everything it needed from my body. My fat, my calcium and everything else it needed !

I persevered with this bad morning sickness until my first visit with my Consultant in the Coombe at 12 weeks. I told him how sick I was and and was prescribed an anti-nausea tablet which you melt under your tongue. It did work a bit but like all pregnant ladies, I was a bit fearful about taking medication during the pregnancy, so I only took it when I was really bad and couldn’t get out of bed.

At 20 weeks, I went to the GP to ask when this sickness was ever going to stop. For most women it stops at around 12 weeks but for 1% of ladies, it is ongoing.  At this stage they took me in to the Coombe. They kept me on a drip for days in a bid to rehydrate me and get my ketones down. It was a blessed relief.

I did go on to have a very healthy baby boy who weighed 7lb 2oz at 38 weeks so not bad going for someone who couldn’t eat !!

So, How Did I Get Through It ?

  • Well, I lived off Complan which is a supplement drink. I tried to sip it to get some goodness in to me.
  • My arms were decorated with seabands which I felt helped me a great deal. They work by applying continuous pressure on the acupressure point (Nei-Kuan Point) on the wrist which reduces the nausea. You buy them in the chemist and they can be washed.
  • Loads of people advised ginger tea, but I don’t think it helped me any, but it might help you.
  • I accepted all the help I could get, especially with having a 6 month old baby too. Rest is very important.
  • Medication from the doctor. Nowadays, Cariban seems to be the medication of choice.
  • Try eating small amounts more regularly.  Sometimes eating can also settle the nausea a bit, especially on days when you feel slightly better.
  • If you are struggling to keep water down, try sucking on an ice pop or a piece of watermelon.

Hyperemisis Gravidarum – The facts

  • 70%-80% of women will get morning sickness but only 1% of women are affected by this severe form of morning sickness.
  • It can be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy.
  • If your mother or sister suffered from it, you could suffer from it too.
  • A lack of B6 in the body can make symptoms worse.  I have to say, when they put me on the B vitamin drip in the hospital, I felt great for about a week !

When Should You Get Help ?

  • If you can’t keep fluids down
  • If your urine is dark in colour
  • If you are losing weight
  • If you feel faint
  • If you haven’t passed urine for 8 hours
  • Pain on urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • If you’re vomiting blood

What Can I do to Help You ?

A couple of treatments that may help you at this time is Pregnancy Reflexology.  This treatment is very relaxing and will give you an hour out to just rest.  It will also very gently help to balance the endocrine system giving some relief to the nausea.

I also do Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) to help relieve the symptoms of nausea and the stress that goes with this debilitating condition.

Who Do You Contact For Help ?

  • First port of call is your GP who can do a urine test to check for dehydration and arrange appropriate action.
  • Your obstetrician, if you have one.
  • Contact the Emergency Department at the Rotunda Hospital Dublin on 1800 522 687
  • Contact the National Maternity Hospital on 01 6373100
  • Contact University Maternity Hospital Limerick on +353 (0) 61 234850
  • Contact Cork University Maternity Hospital (021) 492 0500
  • Visit www.hyperemesis.ie

 

To this day, I will be forever grateful to all my family for all their help, especially my sister Helen for stepping in to the breach to help out with my then 6 month old elder son. 💗

Endometriosis

 

Endometriosis

Through my Fertility Reflexology, I work a lot with women who suffer from Endometriosis.  Clients report that Fertility Reflexology seems to have a calming effect on the pain, which is good news.  It is also amazing for balancing the hormones and keeping them in check.  I also have first hand experience with this condition myself ! But did you know that 1 in 10 ladies suffer from this chronic condition and the symptoms may differ for every woman. It usually starts at around sixteen years of age but can begin at any age.

There are some symptoms that distinguish Endometriosis from a normal period which you may not be aware of. These include;

  • Bad pelvic pain (dysmenorrhea)
  • Have you needed to take time off school, college our work because of the pain?
  • Do you experience painful urination or bowel movements?
  • Are you having issues trying to conceive?
  • Do you experience pain during or after sex?
  • Do you sometimes suffer with fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or nausea especially during menstruation cycle.
  • Have you got very heavy periods
  • Do you vomit or faint with the pain ?

If you have some of these symptoms, then you may have Endometriosis.

SO WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?

Endometriosis is where the lining of the womb starts growing on the outside of the womb and can involve the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, colon, rectum etc. It has even been found in places like the brain and the eyes, so it can be very problematic. These deposits react to hormones like the lining inside the womb. They thicken, break down and bleed with each menstrual cycle causing such pain that can leave you on the couch for days. However, when these deposits bleed, the blood has nowhere to go and it becomes trapped causing adhesions which can then cause other pelvic tissues and organs to bind together.

HOW IS ENDOMETRIOSIS DIAGNOSED?

The most reliable way for endometriosis to be diagnosed is by having a laparoscopy. This is surgical procedure that can diagnose and treat this condition.

It is a low risk and minimally invasive procedure involving a long thin viewing instrument to be inserted via the abdomen wall through a small incision. This allows the doctor to see what’s going on inside and can remove cysts, implants and scar tissue that might exist there.

I’ve had this procedure done myself and I found the most uncomfortable part was the bloating afterwards from being pumped with air during the procedure. After a few days I was fine !

Risk Factors

First of all, Endometriosis can be seen running down the family line so if someone in the family is suffering from the condition, the chances are, if you are suffering with heavy painful periods, you may have endometriosis too.

A big risk factor is the environment.  Our exposure to toxins and pollution in the air and the water can have a negative impact on our endocrine system.  If you live or lived in the country, you could be exposed to pesticides and other chemicals that are being sprayed on crops.

Think about the chemicals you put on your skin in the forms of soaps, shampoos, hair dyes and makeup.  These may contain ingredients that will upset your endocrine system causing hormone imbalance.  Using skincare that is as clean as possible will really help. I have an account with Neals Yard Remedies which sells clean skincare so if you would like to take a look at their products, then  Visit my shop.

Other risk factors include using any plastics which contain BPA.  These can also include using tinned foods which are lined with plastic, using cling film and check your water bottle.  Also beware of non-stick pans as the coating on them can be toxic to the body.

Endometriosis and Fertility

Endometriosis can have a negative impact on your fertility, however if you have mild to moderate endometriosis, you can still get pregnant naturally.  It can hinder fertility by covering or growing into the ovaries or by distorting or blocking the fallopian tubes.  It can also hinder conception or the development of a fertilized egg.  Fertility issues with regard to endometriosis can be improved after having a laparoscopy.  If a couple still have trouble conceiving after getting treated with a laparoscopy, then Assisted reproductive techniques (ART) such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) may be suggested if there are no male factor issues.  IVF/ICSI may be considered if there is a male factor issue.

Endometriosis & Diet

To fight inflammation and pain caused by endometriosis, you need to look after your gut.  It is recommended to eat and consume a well-balanced diet that’s primarily plant-based which will improve the diversity of the microbiome in the gut. Take little steps if you want to try some of these recommendations !

  • Whole, intact grains that are high in fibre are best as they are more slowly digested carbohydrates such as whole or cracked wheat, oatmeal, brown rice and wholegrain breads, cereals, pastas and crackers. If you have a predisposition to gluten intolerance, then avoid grains which contain gluten.
  • Fibrous foods such as fruits and vegetables, especially those that are in season would be good to include in your diet.  Also include beans and nuts.
  • Foods rich in Iron such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, fortified grains, nuts, and seeds.
  • Omega rich foods are abundant in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, trout.  Omegas can also be found in walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.
  • Include antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables found in a rainbow of colours such as oranges, berries, spinach, aubergine, blueberries and beets.  Also, throw in dark chocolate !!
  • Drinking plenty of water is a must to stay hydrated.  I use a Reverse Osmosis system to clean the chemicals out of the water.
  • Avoid trans fats as the more trans fat in the diet, the greater the chances of ovulatory infertility (Book Fertility Diet)
  • Increase healthy fats in your diet such as olive oil, creamy avocados and nut oils whilst cutting back on saturated fats from red meat.
  • Drink green tea to inhibit growths.
  • Cut back on your coffee, alcohol and sugar intake.

Visiting a Herbal or Nutritional therapist would be good to get advice from !

My story !

Like a lot of ladies, I only found out I had endometriosis when I was trying to get pregnant.  I had symptoms but I never realised what it was.  I guess they crept up on me so slowly and I just lived with them.  Unlike a lot of other ladies, the pain I had was bearable, but what wasn’t bearable was the pain on my colon every month.  After a year of trying to get pregnant, I had a laparoscopy in the Rotunda Hospital where I was told that I had Grade 2 Endometriosis.  They managed to clear the deposits of endo on my bowel and bladder and I really never looked back after that.  However, I still wasn’t getting pregnant.  I embarked on 2 IVF’s,  one in the Rotunda and one in Sims, but unfortunately, both ended with a negative result 😢.  It was a horrendous time.

We decided that we would do no more IVFs and headed straight to Adoption.  This took 3 years to complete and we brought home our lovely baby boy to Ireland.  However, we were only home 5 days when I discovered I was pregnant.  Yes, you heard right.  After 7 years of trying for a baby and never once getting pregnant, we discovered we had a baby onboard !!!  We ended up with 2 baby boys in nappies, crawling around the place.  Our family was complete.

After all our struggles in trying to build our family, I decided it was my mission to help other couples who are trying to get pregnant.

Endometriosis Association of Ireland

If you suffer with endometriosis and in light of it being Endometriosis Awareness Month, the Endometriosis Association of Ireland are running a number of Information Days which you might be interested in.

The first will take place on Saturday 20th March at 10.30am and 11.30am.  There will also be a talk on 27th March at 10.30am

Here is a link if you want more information on these talks

Also, why not join their Facebook page if you haven’t already done so. Click here.. Endometriosis Association of Ireland