In my last post, I gave an overview of a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Today, I review OHSS treatment options and discuss how to manage the illness.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) symptoms often resolve on their own after several days. Unfortunately, there are no medications that will make OHSS go away.
How is OHSS treated?
Mild OHSS can be managed on an outpatient basis, but if OHSS progresses to severe disease, hospitalization may be required to make sure that life threatening complications do not occur. If progression to severe disease occurs prior to embryo transfer, your embryos may need to be frozen for a future transfer once the OHSS symptoms resolve.
Mild cases of OHSS can be managed with the following on an outpatient basis:
- Pain medications
- Aggressive oral fluid intake
- Daily weight measurements
- Careful monitoring with lab tests and the monitoring of your urine output
- Avoiding strenuous activity and intercourse
The progression to severe disease can be discovered quickly, but only when a doctor knows how his or her patient is feeling on a daily basis. This means that daily communication with your doctor is very important.
What should you do if you think you may be developing OHSS?
Unfortunately, OHSS cannot be reversed with medication. If you suspect that you are developing symptoms of OHSS, call your doctor. If you develop shortness of breath or abdominal pain and swelling, go to the emergency room. Otherwise, your doctor may recommend that you manage your symptoms by doing the following.
- Drinking plenty of fluids that do not contain caffeine
- Monitoring your urine output
- Monitoring your weight daily
Stay in touch with your doctor and update him or her about your symptoms daily.
What is the bottom line about OHSS?
Know that OHSS can occur after any assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycle. The blood vessels can leak fluid into the abdomen and, in severe cases, into the lung cavity. Fortunately, the OHSS process reverses itself spontaneously after several days. Often, staying hydrated (at least in the more mild cases) is all the care that you will need. Thankfully, most women do not progress to severe OHSS.
Source: The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Fertility and Sterility Vol. 80, No. 5, 11/2003, p.1309 – 1314.
Dr. Lowell T. Ku, M.D. is an award winning and leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at Dallas IVF, one the nation’s premiere infertility centers. Dr. Ku clarifies the many confusing terms used in the world of Infertility using straightforward explanations.