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Ptyalism: Another Strange Symptom of Pregnancy

by Katlyn Joy | December 20, 2013 12:00 AM
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Pregnancy is a wonderful time to glow, blossom and beam. And belch, break out, swell, and get dizzy among other things. But chances are unless it happens to you or someone you know, you will never hear of ptyalism. After all, it is not the most common of pregnancy conditions, and many people who suffer from it will likely not share about it with others.

What is Ptyalism?

Simply put, it's excessive saliva. The word comes from the Greek and means, "to spit much." Usually ptyalism is associated with a bad case of morning sickness, perhaps the kind that becomes hyperemesis gravidarum which is an extreme case of morning sickness and nausea that may lead to hospitalization with IV fluids.

What Causes Ptyalism?

There is no neat and simple answer, only some probable reasons. Among them, of course, is the usual culprit in pregnancy: hormones. Other suspected causes include the fact that nauseated pregnant women may be reluctant to swallow saliva and will then have excess spit. Also, so many expectant women battle heartburn and indigestion, and the reflux of stomach acid will irritate the esophagus, which in turn triggers the salivary glands to pump out more saliva to balance the state of affairs with the more alkaline substance of saliva.

When Will it Appear and More Importantly When Will it End?

Since it's usually a co-star along with morning sickness, ptyalism most often appears early in pregnancy and continues until the morning sickness ends, which in most cases ends with the conclusion of the first trimester.

However, there are some cases of morning sickness, especially with hyperemesis gravidarum, where it may go on well into the pregnancy, perhaps until delivery, although this would be rare.

Can it Harm the Pregnancy or My Baby?

Ptyalism is an annoying symptom of pregnancy, but unless a woman has severe morning sickness along with ptyalism and becomes dehydrated, no risk is posed to mother or child. Despite the difficulties in swallowing or nausea, pregnant women must still make sure they are drinking plenty of liquids, especially water and milk.

How to Deal with Ptyalism?

Like so many irritating side effects of expectancy, some cases of ptyalism must just be endured and generally, within 12 weeks or so, it will subside. Until then, there are some things you can do to hopefully lessen the symptoms.

Remember, you will feel better and before you know it the whole reason for your discomfort will arrive and all will be forgiven and happily forgotten. Perhaps purchase a tiny spittoon of pink or blue to remember the craziness.


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