Question: I am 8 weeks pregnant and cannot stop spitting. I wake up several times during the night because I have to spit. It’s hard to have a conversation without my mouth filling up with water, and I rarely get sick in the morning. How can I stop it completely?
Answer: Excessive salivation is referred to as “Ptylism” and is a common feature of pregnancy. Nothing special needs to be done to manage this problem. It is not a disorder, but a consequence of pregnancy. Don’t worry.
Causes of Ptylism during pregnancy
- Excessive salivation occurs during the first and the third trimester of pregnancy. However it may occur across pregnancy. It is attributed to the rapid hormonal alterations and changes taking place.
- Pregnancy is also associated with heart burns. As the uterine size increases, it puts pressure on abdominal organs including the stomach. This in turn pushes the contents of the stomach up into the esophagus.
- The esophagus contains acid sensors, with get stimulated due to the regurgitation and triggers the salivary glands to secrete saliva (which is alkaline), to neutralize the effect of stomach acids.
Treatment for Excessive Salivation
- Simply, accept that excessive salivation is a side effect of being pregnant. Swallow or spit out the excess saliva.
- If it is due to heart burn you can try using antacids, which will reduce heart burns.
- Eat small quantities of food at frequent intervals. Avoid eating late at night.
- Drinking cold milk will help reduce the acidity (as milk is alkaline). This will indirectly reduce excessive salivation.
- Keep yourself well hydrated. Dehydration can also lead to Ptylism.