Hello and welcome back to Medical Terminology Corner!
Today we will discuss Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Throughout the years, I interpreted for couple of women who had this diagnosis. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is an extreme form of morning sickness.
First, let’s break the word into its parts. Emesis [em-uh-sis] means the act of vomiting. Hyper [hahy-per] means: overstimulated, overexcited. Gravida [grav-i-duh] means a pregnant woman and called gravida I (primigravida) during the first pregnancy, gravida II (secundigravida) during the second pregnancy and so on.
The majority of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness (70 – 80%). Recent studies show that at least 60,000 cases of extreme morning sickness called Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) are reported by those who are treated in a hospital but the numbers are expected to be much higher than this since many women are treated at home or by outpatient care with their health care provider.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is considered a diagnosis of exclusion. A diagnosis of exclusion (per exclusionem) is a diagnosis of a medical condition reached by a process of elimination of other possible reasons for the symptoms, which may be necessary if the condition cannot be established with complete confidence from history, examination or testing.
Distinguishing between morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum-
- Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting
- Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after
- Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration
- Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down
- Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting
- Nausea that does not subside
- Vomiting that causes severe dehydration
- Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down
Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum:
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Food aversions
- Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight
- Decrease in urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Secondary anxiety/depression
By the way, the gossip was that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) suffered from it during both pregnancies.
Knowing this, can you figure out what hematemesis (hē’mə-tə-mē’sĭs) means?
If you guessed – blood in the vomit or the vomiting of blood (emesis stands for act of vomiting and hemat – for blood), you are correct!
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 49. HER Foundation, www.hyperemesis.org
Americanpregnancy.org, Pregnancy Conditions, Hyperemesis Gravidarum