Risks Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome OHSS

OHSS occurs when your ovaries become overly stimulated from ovulation-induction medications. Studies show that approximately 4 percent of women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies may develop OHSS. The ovaries begin to enlarge and form multiple fluid-filled cysts. The excessive fluid can leak into your abdominal and chest cavity and cause serious complications.

Symptoms usually begin about four or five days after the stimulated ovulation has occurred. A woman with OHSS might notice pain and bloating in her abdomen. She may have difficulty urinating and experience a sudden weight gain of up to 10 pounds. Rarely, the symptoms can become excruciatingly painful and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath.

Any patient who undergoes ovulation induction is at risk of developing OHSS. However, the reason why some women are more likely to develop OHSS than others is not completely understood. Here's a list of women who seem to be at higher risk of developing OHSS:

• Women who become pregnant during that cycle

• Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

• Women with high estrogen levels and a large number of eggs

In mild cases, OHSS may be managed with rest and doctor visits. It will resolve by itself in a few days. Severe cases of OHSS require urgent hospital admission and may last for several weeks. Hospital treatment focuses on restoring your fluid and electrolyte balance and controlling your pain. In life-threatening situations, you may need cardiac support and blood transfusions.

OHSS is certainly one of the most serious complications that a fertility patient can encounter. Fortunately, it is quite rare and most cases are mild. The severe form of OHSS occurs in less than 1 percent of women affected. However, any woman undergoing ovulation induction should understand the symptoms and potential risks of OHSS.

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