DOCTOR'S VIEWS ARCHIVE


Topic: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), June 2000

Dr. Lee:
A viewer is trying to conceive and she also suffers from GERD, what medications are safe to use during pregnancy?

Dr. Marks:
There are several things that can be done during pregnancy to relieve the symptoms of GERD. Unfortunately, none of them are terribly effective.

The first is lifestyle changes. These would include not eating or drinking several hours before going to bed. This reduces the amount of acid in the stomach when you lie down at night, and there is less acid to reflux into the esophagus.

The second thing that can be done is to elevate the head of the bed. This way it is less likely that acid from the stomach will reflux back up into the esophagus.

Thirdly, the diet can be altered, and we will be talking about what alterations in diet can be made.

Finally, pregnant women can chew gum. Chewing gum actually stimulates saliva which contains bicarbonate, which is swallowed and neutralizes acid within the esophagus. Antacids in low doses probably are safe to use during pregnancy, as is Gaviscon.

None of the medications usually used to treat GERD have been tested for safety to the fetus during pregnancy, so their use is not really recommended during pregnancy.

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Last Editorial Review: 6/29/2000 3:16:00 PM