IZMIR, Turkey, Aug. 10 (UPI) — Women who had children through in vitro fertilization are three times more prone to long-term symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease, or GORD, than mothers who conceived naturally, according a new study of women in Turkey.
GORD is a common condition characterized stomach acid traveling up the esophagus causing pain, vomiting, and heartburn. It is caused by a weakening of the lower esophagal sphincter which allows the acid to travel. About half of all women are at risk for developing the condition, though it is generally considered to be temporary.
Researchers in the study, published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal, interviewed 156 first-time mothers who had either twins or single children at least one year earlier after IVF treatment. Their data was compared to 111 first-time mothers who conceived naturally.
They found that 13.5 percent of women who had IVF were diagnosed with GORD, as opposed to 4.5 percent of women who’d conceived naturally. Those diagnosed with GORD had exhibited the symptoms at least once a week.
In the IVF group, the prevalence of GORD was slightly higher in mothers of twins (14.8 percent) than mothers of singletons (12.7 percent), which the researches say is statistically insignificant.
Researchers theorize that a combination of drugs taken during IVF treatment, psychological issues associated with problems conceiving, or long periods of lying down because of concerns over miscarriage could contribute to women developing GORD, however they said more research will be needed to determine causes.
“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, prospective studies,” said Dr. Oliver Pech, editor of the UEG journal the study was published in, in a press release. “If so, we really need to investigate how we might prevent the development of GORD in all pregnant women, but particularly in those who receive IVF treatment.”