OHSS, or Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, is a response some women can have from taking certain fertility medication used in fertility treatments during assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, mini stim or ICSI. Some of the fertility medications, such as injectable gonadotropins, can help ovarian eggs to grow, which is good during fertility treatment – the more high quality eggs, the more of an increase there is in the chance of a pregnancy. But sometimes women can have a reaction, even from regular fertility drugs like Clomid (clomiphene citrate) or the more advanced injectables. When there is a large number of follicles and higher estradiol levels, this can sometimes lead to fluid leakage into the abdomen, causing bloating, pain, nausea, swelling, dehydration and dizziness. If it becomes severe, some women begin to have respiratory issues and severe pain, including vomiting. This can be life threatening so if you or someone you know is exhibiting symptoms, go straight to the ER or call 911.
So how do we prevent OHSS? Carefully monitoring of the injectable drugs is the first and more important way of preventing OHSS. Your doctor and nurses will work together to take care of you and help monitor the process, and if your risk is higher because of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or other health challenges, you may be monitored even more closely – be prepared!
Another way you can prevent OHSS is by getting regular acupuncture treatments. Usually once or twice a week before an egg retrieval up through the embryo transfer will not only prevent OHSS but can increase one’s chances of getting pregnant. New studies even show that it cuts labor & delivery in half! Works for us.
Another helpful tip? Fluids. And not just any fluids, although water will work wonders, but fluids with electrolytes. Some women chose to use sports drinks or coconut water, or you can make your own low-sugar version at home by using a pinch of high quality sea salt and squeezing orange and lemon slices into the glass.
If you have any questions about fertility, OHSS or family building, feel free to give us a call! At Santa Monica Fertility we are always here to answer your questions and help you on your journey to becoming the parent you’ve always wanted to become!