24-year-old mother left completely toothless due to horrific pregnancy illness
The condition affects about 1% of people throughout pregnancy.
A 24-year-old woman has revealed how she lost all her teeth as a result of severe sickness throughout her pregnancy.
Louise Cooper, a mum-of-two from the UK, was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) during her first pregnancy at 19. The condition left her with just six damaged teeth as a result of excessive vomiting.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a condition that causes severe nausea and vomiting for durations that last much longer than regular morning sickness. It affects about 1% of people during pregnancy, with celebrity sufferers including Amy Schumer and Kate Middleton.
"I was hospitalised for dehydration because I was throwing up so much," she says of her first pregnancy in the Metro. "My second hospitalisation was when I was diagnosed with HG.
"By seven weeks, I was bed bound. I couldn’t eat, drink, walk, stand, move or even lift my head without vomiting. On top of that, I had debilitating nausea that never eased. It was mentally draining."
Louise says it got so bad that by twelve weeks, she begged consultants for a termination so that the suffering would end. She was ultimately didn't go through with it as she was started on steroid treatments and anti-sickness medications.
Louise was frustrated by the lack of knowledge some staff displayed on the condition during her more 25+ trips to the hospital throughout her pregnancy. "Some medical staff were good and knew the condition well, which meant treatment was fantastic. But then there were some that did not even know what HG was and told me to suck it up and have some ginger biscuits or that it would just go away at the 14-week mark.
"These comments were draining and made me feel like I wasn’t listened to and was just being dramatic. I really felt like I was physically dying and nothing has ever compared to these moments."
Her tooth enamel had been so badly damaged by the acid of her vomit that at 16 weeks, she lost her first tooth. By her third trimester, she was averagely losing a tooth a week.
The vomiting stopped after the birth, but by that point she only had six teeth left. They were damaged and sore, plus she needed to take medication regularly to keep infection at bay. At five months postpartum following a referral from her dentist, she had surgery to remove her remaining teeth and roots.
"You could see that the bone in my gums was starting to shrink and my smile had changed straight away, but I knew it was the right thing to do to remove all of my teeth."
Louise decided to have a second baby with her new partner a little over a year after having her first. Her second pregnancy was another one full of hospital visits and severe illness due to HG.
She still doesn't have replacements for her teeth apart from dentures that are "extremely uncomfortable" and cause her to gag continuously, which is "a major trigger" to the trauma she went through during both pregnancies.
"I want other people that are pregnant to understand that HG is not just ‘morning sickness’ – it is extremely serious," says Louise. "People should not compare their pregnancy to others because no pregnancy is the same."
For more information and support on severe vomiting and illness during pregnancy, visit hyperemesis.ie.