You heard the word ‘tumour’ and immediately hear ‘cancer’ – but rest assured, a pregnancy gum tumour (or pyogenic granuloma) is not cancerous.
In fact, it’s more of a pregnancy-related dental issue than anything else. One that can be painful, or feel a bit scary.
Here, we’ll explain what causes pregnancy gum tumours, how you know if you’ve got one, plus, ways to treat it if you do.
Plus one of our Bump Project mums, Aimee W, tell us all about what it’s really like to have one while you’re expecting…
Pregnancy gum tumours – everything you need to know
What are the signs of a pregnancy gum tumour?
Typically, you may notice a 1 – 2cm nodule appear on one side of your gums. It might feel smooth and a bit squishy.
They’ll often be spotted near your teeth. Sometimes, people say they look a little bit like raspberries.
You may also find you’re experiencing annoying symptoms, too, including:
- bleeding near the area, or bleeding gums generally
- pain in your gums
- the gum changing or coming away a bit, near the area
- difficulty chewing or brushing your teeth.
Aimee W definitely noticed the bleeding first, and noticed she had trouble brushing her teeth, at around 22 weeks.
She told us: “One thing I’ve noticed is my gums have been bleeding a lot. I’ve got like a little growth on the side of my mouth and it’s really sore. It’s bad when I brush my teeth.
“I noticed in-between 2 of my teeth some skin, and some gum started coming away.
“I’ve been speaking to the girls on my Facebook group and they’ve all said they’ve had bleeding gums – so that makes me feel a little bit more normal.”
At 24 weeks pregnant, Aimee caught her pregnancy gum tumour, and it caused a bit of a serious bleed in her mouth.
“I caught it earlier on and my whole mouth just filled with blood,” she adds. “It was awful for about 15 minutes. Just loads and loads of blood coming out. It was so scary – because it’s so much blood.”
Fortunately, there’s really nothing to be afraid of. It’s not exactly pleasant, but there’s typically nothing nasty behind it…
What causes pregnancy gum tumours?
Lots of women have dental and gum issues when they’re pregnant. Bleeding gums is a common one.
Usually, these changes are all caused by hormones. And this benign tumour on your gum that pops up while you’re pregnant is no exception!
It typically pops up in or after your 1st trimester, or some time in your 2nd trimester. They can also be caused by swelling, or irritated gums, which you’ll likely have with pregnancy gingivitis, too.
Rest assured, it will go away once your baby’s arrived and you’re no longer pregnant.
How do dentists diagnose pregnancy gum tumours?
If you notice anything funky going on, or see a lump pop up anywhere on your gums, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out by your dentist.
Because they’re so normal, they’ll be able to tell it’s a pregnancy gum tumour pretty quickly, usually just by looking at it.
Aimee’s was actually diagnosed by a dentist friend: “So, I spoke to my friend, she’s a dentist, and I was like, ‘Is this normal, what’s going on?’ and so she basically told me ‘pregnancy – you can get gum tumours’. Wow! So I’ve got a gum tumour…”
Extremely rarely, you may get it biopsied, just to be on the safe side. All that involves is a little bit of tissue being sent off for tests, and waiting for the results.
What is the treatment for a pregnancy gum tumour?
Pyogenic granulomas usually go away on their own, especially if they’re caused by pregnancy. Also, there won’t be any treatment, as it will go away after time.
Though our Bump Project mum-to-be Aimee did find Corsodyl mouthwash helped a bit when she first noticed her gums were bleeding: “When I was brushing my teeth at first I’d just get loads of blood. I was taking that Corsodyl mouthwash and it stopped happening.”
Still, it came back, and she was advised to wait it out. “I don’t know how to deal with this – apparently it’s just one of those things they can’t do anything about. But after you’re done being pregnant, it goes.”
If you’re in a lot of pain, you may be able to get it scraped off. Speak to your dentist if the lesion is really affecting your day to day life, and making it difficult for you to eat, drink or brush your teeth comfortably.
“It’s not been helping my mood,” Aimee continues. “Like, I can’t eat an apple without my mouth filling with blood and that’s never fun!”
If you are struggling with it, we’d also suggest adjusting your dental habits for a bit, by:
- eating softer foods
- switching to a softer toothbrush
- avoiding brushing the tumour if possible
- being extra careful not to knock the affected side.
Can I get pregnancy gum tumour treatment for free?
If you live in the UK, essential dental work will be covered by the NHS while you’re pregnant. This is because pregnancy can affect your teeth in lots of different ways.
So, if you end up feeling rubbish thanks to a pregnancy gum tumour, you won’t have to worry double about the cost of your dental check-up.
Have your say
Did you have a pregnancy gum tumour while you were expecting? We’d really like to hear from you if so – tell us your experience in the comments below.
Image: Getty Images