Pregnancies by IVF Triggers GERD After Birth

AUGUST 12, 2015
Amy Jacob
Women giving birth through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) were reported more likely to experience the after-effects of long-term gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms.
Study results published in the UEG Journal compared a total of 156 women who gave birth to their first child (twins or single child) at least one year prior. The researchers discovered the women administered IVF were three-times more likely to be diagnosed with GERD than the women who conceived naturally.
Using a validated reflux questionnaire, the researchers diagnosed the patients with GERD if heartburn, regurgitation, or both was reported to occur at least once a week. The resulting data were compared to the appropriate age-matched group of women who had given birth naturally.
Experts found the prevalence of GERD was 13.5% in IVF administered women as opposed to only 4.5% in the women who naturally conceived.
Although researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact reason why women with IVF are more susceptible to developing GERD, experts believe the leading possibilities include high-doses of medications like progesterone and oestrogen; psychological causes like stress, depression, and anxiety linked to fertility issues; and long stretches of immobility in women undergoing IVF who fear miscarriage.
Oliver Pech, Head of Gastroenterology and Interventional Endoscopy, St. John of God Hospital Regensburg, Germany, and Associate Editor for UEG Journal, commented, “These are very interesting findings and UEG would welcome further research in this area to determine whether these results can be replicated in long-term, perspective studies.”
Pech concluded, “If so, we really need to investigate how we might prevent the development of GERD in all pregnant women, but particularly in those who receive IVF treatment.”

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