Unfortunately, many HG sufferers fall through the cracks due to a simple lack of knowledge about HG in the medical community. We expect doctors to know a lot but many haven’t dealt with hyperemesis so they can be quite unhelpful or even harmful to the patient.
With my first HG pregnancy, I had no idea that I had hyperemesis but I knew something was very wrong early on and when I talked to my OB about my excessive nausea/vomiting, she simply reassured me that it was “normal” morning sickness of the first trimester and that I would feel better soon. It took two visits to urgent care for hydration treatment and eventually an admission to the ER for my doctor to realize that what I had was not normal morning sickness and that I would require long-term IV treatment in order for me to survive.
All that time that had lapsed before I was diagnosed with hyperemesis was time in which I was rapidly losing weight due to the excessive vomiting. This could have all been prevented had the doctor been more cautious and informed me about hyperemesis, its symptoms and what I should do if I kept vomiting. Because hyperemesis symptoms can worsen so rapidly, it’s very imperative for aggressive treatment to be started right away.
This time around, I made sure to inform the doctor right away about my previous HG pregnancy and treatment. Thankfully, I was able to start in-home IV treatment immediately so that I didn’t have to go to the ER for fluids.
I have heard of horror stories in which the doctor refuses to order home health care and so the HG sufferer ends up going in and out of the ER numerous times for IV hydration. I have also heard of doctors getting angry with the patient and blaming them for losing weight! Some insurance companies deny coverage for home health care for hyperemesis which places an enormous financial burden on the HG sufferer. My bill for home health care (2 months of continuous IV treatment) came out to be $20,000! Thankfully, our insurance covered 100% of it!
In the past when there was no IV treatment or proper medical care available for HG, women have died from malnutrition and dehydration. HG is not something one should take lightly but many doctors still tend to minimize HG.
I wonder…what will it take for doctors to be well-informed about hyperemesis so that HG sufferers do not have to suffer any more than they already are?