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Hum Reprod Update. 2005 Sep-Oct;11(5):527-39. Epub 2005 Jul 8.

Hyperemesis gravidarum, a literature review.

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Academic Unit of Reproductive Physiology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London, UK.

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  • Hum Reprod Update. 2007 Mar-Apr;13(2):207.


Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a condition causing severe nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy often resulting in hospital admission. The incidence of HG is approximately 0.5% of live births, said to be higher in multiple pregnancies, hydatidiform mole and other conditions associated with increased pregnancy hormone levels. Both the aetiology and pathogenesis of HG remain unknown. We conducted a literature review (1966-now) to summarize the current evidence on the aetiology and pathogenesis of HG. The potential role of pregnancy-related hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and HCG has been widely studied; however, various other hormones such as leptin, placental growth hormone, prolactin, thyroid and adrenal cortical hormones have been implicated in the aetiology of HG. In addition to endocrinological hypotheses, the rationale and evidence considering infectious, immunological, psychological, metabolic and anatomical causes for HG have been analysed here. Many studies suffer from the low number of patients included, the variable definition used for HG and varying assay methodology used in studies of hormone measurement. This review highlights the need for more extensive studies addressing the pathogenesis and aetiology of HG.

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