We are going to go waaaaay back today and reminisce about when I was pregnant with Josh thanks to our sponsor, the CHPA Educational Foundation. For those of you who are new to these parts, Josh just turned 16, so it’s been a while!!
As anyone who has had a baby knows, that first pregnancy is pretty much a journey into unchartered territory. Each day brings new sensations that you’ve never experienced before. Morning sickness was one of those surprises that I didn’t enjoy so much. How could I be hungry AND nauseous at the same time? Those little fluttery kicks were pretty cool – once I figured out they weren’t gas! But there was one sensation I was not expecting – heartburn.
I had honestly not ever had any heartburn whatsoever until I got pregnant. For the years leading up to starting a family, I had been able to eat pretty much anything. Tomato sauce? Bring it on! Chocolate? It was one of my main food groups. Spicy foods? I have never been a huge fan of really spicy foods but I enjoyed plenty of foods with a little heat with no issues.
Then during my first trimester, I had this weird feeling I hadn’t experienced before. I mentioned it to my doctor and he identified it as heartburn (often called acid reflux) and said it was common during pregnancy. He suggested OTC medication and all was well again. Once I had Josh, I expected it to go away but it persisted. I started tracking the foods that really triggered it and avoided them (mostly) yet I was still experiencing it. So I headed back to my doctor for a conversation.
He asked me whether I was experiencing occasional heartburn, frequent heartburn or chronic heartburn. I blinked at him and asked for more information because I had no idea what the differences were. Here’s what I learned:
Occasional heartburn is heartburn that occurs less than two days per week. Frequent heartburn occurs at least two days a week. Chronic heartburn occurs many days a week and can also be diagnosed as GERD. Knowing which type of heartburn you have is important because different treatments work differently for each of the three types.
Occasional heartburn is actually much more common than I ever realized. More than 25% of adults experience heartburn symptoms at least once a week. Often, lifestyle changes (losing weight, avoiding trigger foods or quitting smoking) can go a long way toward managing symptoms. Many sufferers find relief with the use of antacids.
Frequent heartburn is much more common than I realized as well. Millions of adults have heartburn symptoms two or more days a week, even with lifestyle adjustments. For frequent heartburn, over the counter (non-prescription) proton pump inhibitors (OTC PPIs) can be helpful as they help block and decrease the production of stomach acid.
Chronic heartburn can be treated with prescription PPIs and sometimes surgery. No matter what level of heartburn a person suffers from, it can impact their quality of life and lead to longer-term issues. Because of this, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the issue and explore treatments that work best for your specific situation. To learn more about the different types of heartburn and treatments, visit KnowYourOTCs.org for more information. This site was created by the CHPA Educational Foundation with the purpose of making information easily available.
This post is brought to you by the CHPA Educational Foundation and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.