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Portal hypertension & pregnancy
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Portal hypertension & pregnancy

Hi there,

I'm 29 and was diagnosed 8 years ago with portal hypertension due to a chronic schistosoma infection (therefore had an enlarged spleen and jaundice at the time). Since then I've been taking a low (I believe) dosage of spironolactone, propranolol and furosemide to control my blood pressure and water retention.

My question, led by me & my man wanting to have a baby within the next few years, is this: Will the following issues cause complications and if so, how can I get around them?

1. My menstrual cycle is very irregular (I often go several months without a period. Never been on the pill/injection etc. Never been pregnant)
2. Was rushed to hospital 5 months ago to have a bleeding oesophageal varix ligated. This was the first time I had a rupture but it could happen again.
3. My liver function is impaired obviously (though to what extent I couldn't say). I bruise easily and there's some platelet issue - a bleeding cut takes a while to clot.
4. I'm on a rather spare medical aid plan right now, so frequent visits to any kind of specialist are limited. I was advised to come in for a gastroscopy every 6 months. With pregnancy, would this be more often?

Before this year my health was sort of at the back of my mind, to be honest, so I haven't been particularly diligent, other than taking the medication. Otherwise I'm in ok shape, feel fine, take care of my body as best I can - eat fairly healthily, swim regularly, and don't drink (I used to have a glass or 2 of wine fairly often until 5 months ago).

I just wanted to know what to expect should I become pregnant, and whether it would be wiser to have a baby sooner rather than later. I'm in a longterm relationship and we have discussed all of this.

Thanks,
Zizwe
2 Comments Post a Comment
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Hey Zizwe!

It would be difficult to comment on the situation without the relevant clinical details such as the severity of the condition, complications etc or a detailed clinical evaluation. There are two main considerations here i.e. the effect of pregnancy of portal hypertension and the effect of portal hypertension of pregnancy. I would suggest considering a evaluation by a gastroenterologist and a gynaecologist to chalk out the pros and cons appropriately.
Hope this is helpful.

Take care!
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Thank you, yes, I understand it would be best to see  both a gastroenterologist and an ob/gyn. I was hoping for an overall idea of what I'm facing, I guess, so that I have my questions laid out when I consult them.

For example, is it a particularly unsafe someone in my condition to get pregnant? What kinds of complications are likely? Is it "safer" to have a baby now, rather than in 5 years, when my condition might have worsened?

Or simply, how worried should I be at the prospect? I see though that it woud be hard to say without all the details, as you say. Thank you anyway :)
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