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OHSS Can Complicate IVF Treatment

If you are in the middle of fertility treatments or are planning to have them, add the abbreviation OHSS to your already expanding dictionary of infertility terms. OHSS stands for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a painful and serious side effect of fertility medications and treatment. It's most likely to occur during IVF injectable medication cycles, but it can also happen with oral medicated cycles.

During IVF treatment, you're often on a regimen of injectable medications that stimulate your body to produce and mature follicles in your ovaries. Your doctors monitor your treatment and follicle growth through blood draws and ultrasounds; however, it can be difficult to predict just how your body will respond to the stimulation. OHSS occurs when your body is stimulated too much or too quickly.

Symptoms of OHSS usually occur after the HCG trigger shot has been given to induce ovulation. Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a large number of follicles or increased estrogen before the HCG trigger shot tend to be more at risk for OHSS complications. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating and tenderness, rapid weight gain, severe abdominal pain, dizziness, decreased urination and shortness of breath. Immediately call your doctor's office if you're experiencing any of these symptoms. You will probably have to go to the hospital.

OHSS typically will resolve itself on its own, but your doctor will need to monitor your situation. Pain medications can assist with discomfort, and you will probably be weighed or measured daily around your abdomen and legs to monitor fluid retention and swelling. Communicate openly with your doctor and be aware of your symptoms and changes in your body.

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