Reduced to Drooling

Bottomless Well

You may have known you were going to have morning sickness, maybe be a bit more emotional, and have a big belly, but you never expected to spit and drool all the time. You may be wondering: Is this a normal symptom of pregnancy? Is there anything that can be done to dry up this bottomless well of spit?

Some women do seem to have excess saliva during their pregnancies. This is called ptyalism or sialorrhea. The condition is more common among women suffering from severe morning sickness, which is called hyperemesis gravidarum.

Physicians aren't really sure what causes some pregnant women to produce so much saliva they need to spit and sometimes drool. They think that hormonal changes may be the culprit of this unpleasant symptom. Nausea may also be a cause since this symptom tends to make women swallow less, which causes a build up of saliva in the mouth.

Sometimes the extra spit can be traced to heartburn, a common symptom of pregnancy. When you have an episode of heartburn, your esophagus sends a message to the salivary glands to produce saliva with a higher concentration of bicarbonate. This saliva then bathes your esophagus and neutralizes the acid of your gastric juices. Vomit is also acidic in nature and tends to trigger this same response, which is why women with severe morning sickness may produce more saliva than is usual.

Serves a Purpose

It may not help control the spitting and drooling, but it's good to know that this excess saliva is serving a purpose by neutralizing excess acids that can damage your stomach and esophagus. Saliva serves other important purposes, too. For instance, saliva has properties that may protect you against viruses, fungi, and bacteria.

There may not be much you can do to halt the production of excess saliva during pregnancy, but some women find the following suggestions to be helpful:

*Eat several small meals instead of three large meals.

*Avoid eating too many carbohydrates.

*Drink lots of water. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and take small sips on a frequent basis.

*Brush your teeth several times a day, and rinse and swish with mouthwash whenever you do so.

*Chew sugarless gum or suck on hard candies. This makes it easier for you to swallow your excess saliva so you don't spit or drool. Sour candies can exacerbate your problem, so avoid these at all costs.

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