Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

About Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

When hormones and fertility medication overstimulate the ovaries, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can occur. OHSS, characterized by painful, swollen ovaries, can result from a woman’s body producing too much stimulant hormones.

The injectable hormone medications used during in vitro fertilisation may cause OHSS. IVF fertility drugs encourage a woman’s ovaries to generate more oocytes (eggs) than they would during a typical ovulation. It is not a precise method to determine how much medication is required to create the right stimulation, but it does require close monitoring.

Less frequently, OHSS can result from milder oral fertility drugs like clomiphene or occur spontaneously.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome causes

The actual cause of OHSS is undetermined. A high amount of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is produced during pregnancy, may contribute to ovarian hyperstimulation. The ovaries’ blood arteries respond improperly to HCG, causing them to leak fluid. The ovaries enlarge as a result of this fluid.

HCG is occasionally used in fertility treatments as a “trigger” to cause a mature follicle to release its egg. A patient experiences OHSS a week after receiving this trigger injection and having their eggs retrieved.

Treatment of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

Any of the symptoms listed above should be reported right away if they appear after having a hormone injection.

It is advised that patients be closely monitored, given less stimulant medications, given painkillers, and encouraged to drink plenty of water.

Even though they are extremely rare, severe OHSS symptoms can sometimes be managed by hospitalisation for intravenous fluid hydration or, in exceptional cases, by putting a needle into the abdomen to drain extra fluid.

If you undergo fertility treatment but are unable to conceive, the doctor may suggest freezing all of your embryos so that you may transfer them whenever you are feeling better. Symptoms often go away within two weeks.

For more information, make an appointment with one of our reproductive endocrinologists.

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