Ask the Doctor: Ectopic pregnancies, acid reflux, back pain

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 12:41 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Cindy): “What is the mortality rate for untreated ectopic pregnancies?”

DR. BOB: An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the growing baby implants outside of the uterus rather than in the uterus. There are a few different places that a baby can implant. However, the vast majority (96%) occur in the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube connects the ovary to the uterus.

Before I try to answer the question about mortality rate, it is important to recognize that statistics in the early stages of pregnancy can be difficult to interpret for various reasons.

Studies from the early 2000′s have shown a mortality rate of about 0.5 deaths per 100,000 live births. Thankfully due to improvements in diagnosis and treatment we have seen reductions in the mortality rate over the last 50 years.

However, there are still differences in the mortality rate based on race and this suggests there is still work to be done to improve outcomes for women in our country.

Questions #2 (from Morgan): “Is it true that apple cider vinegar helps with acid reflux? I’ve only tried it a few times and I think it feels like fire.”

DR. BOB: Apple cider vinegar is a supplement. It is not a medicine.

For those who have watched our program regularly, you are probably used to my normal explanation of supplements.

As a physician we don’t have the same types of information about supplements as we do about medicines, therefore it is difficult to say a lot about their risks or benefits.

Your feelings about apple cider vinegar seems to be common sense. Vinegar has acid in it. Often the problem with acid reflux is too much acid. Thus, it would make sense to me that apple cider vinegar would worsen acid reflux.

If it isn’t helping you, I would stop using it, and look into other treatments for acid reflux.

Question #3 (from Jo): “What can I take for back pain? It goes around to my hips and hurts to my knees.”

DR. BOB: Back pain that you are describing that goes all the way down from your back to your knees could be due to arthritis, a herniated disc, or muscle problems among other things.

A herniated disc occurs when the flexible discs between the bones of the spines rupture and the contents irritate a nerve. This will typically cause pain that shoots down one leg.

We have good treatments for this condition. If the pain you are describing just started, I would recommend seeing your doctor soon because these treatments could help.

If the pain has been going on a long time, things like physical therapy will be more likely to help.

In the meantime, I would recommend trying Tylenol and lidocaine patches for more immediate relief.

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