Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome or OHSS is a syndrome that generally affects women who take injectable hormone medicines to stimulate the growth of eggs in their ovaries. If you are going through the IVF procedure, intrauterine insemination, or ovulation induction, this syndrome may occur. An excessive amount of hormone medicines can eventually lead to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome where your ovaries end up painful and swollen. Some women can also develop severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome which can cause abdominal pains, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, and vomiting.

Although rarely, OHSS occurs during fertility procedures that use medicines taken by mouth like Clomid or Serophene (clomiphene); occasionally, the syndrome just happens spontaneously and is not related to fertility treatments.

The Symptoms of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

The common symptoms of the OHSS usually start within ten days after injecting the ovulation-stimulating medicines and usually, the symptoms may change from being mild to extreme which can improve or worsen overtime.

• Mild to Moderate Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

If the syndrome is considered mild to moderate, the usual symptoms that you may notice are the following:

1. Mild to moderate pains in the abdomen
2. Nausea and vomiting
3. Diarrhea
4. Increased waist size or abdominal bloating
5. Sudden weight gain of about three kilograms
6. Tenderness along your ovaries

Those who use injectable fertility drugs tend to experience a milder kind of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome that eventually vanishes after about a week or so; however, if pregnancy occurs, the symptoms of the syndrome may get aggravated and it usually lasts for a couple of days to a whole week.

• Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

If you are having severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, the following symptoms may be evident:

1. Enlarged or tight abdomen
2. Shortness of breath
3. Severe abdominal pain
4. Blood clots in your legs
5. Severe and persistent vomiting and nausea
6. Urination lessens

When to See the Doctor

If you are going through fertility treatments and during the period, you experience any of the Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome symptoms mentioned, you should immediately contact your doctor and inform him or her about this. Even if your OHSS is mild, it will still be necessary for your doctor to observe you for any signs of sudden increased weight or worsening signs. It is also vital that you contact your doctor as soon as possible when you suddenly feel pain in your legs or end up having breathing issues during your treatment; this may reveal an urgent situation that requires instant medical attention.

Causes of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

The usual cause of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome has not been fully confirmed nor understood completely, yet having increased levels of hCG’s (human chorionic gonadotropin) in your systems plays a vital role. The blood vessels of the ovaries have an abnormal reaction to hCG and ends up leaking fluid; this fluid makes your ovaries swell and at times, an excessive amount of this flows to the abdomen.

While undergoing the fertility medications, the hCG may be utilized as the “trigger” to allow the grown follicles to release its eggs; the syndrome usually occurs within a week right after receiving the hCG injections so if you end up getting pregnant during the treatment’s cycle, the Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome may worsen since your body will start developing its own hCG in response to your pregnancy. Keep in mind that fertility medicines that are injected have higher chances of causing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.

Risk Factors of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Factors that increase your risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome include the following:

1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or POS – a common issue that causes irregular periods, unusual appearance of the ovaries, and also excessive hair growth on ultrasound tests.
2. A lot of of follicles.
3. Low body weight.
4. If you are aged thirty and below.
5. High levels of estrogen (estradiol) before the hCG trigger shot.
6. Previous occurrences of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.
7. During certain instances, the Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome affects even those who have no risk factors.


OHSS usually gets cured on its own within one week or two, but it can take a little longer if you are pregnant. The treatment of this syndrome focuses on keeping you comfortable while simultaneously lowering the ovarian activities and avoiding any form of complications.

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