One of the main issues that most women face is related to their reproductive system, especially their ovaries and eggs. Usually, these problems are caused as a result of hormonal imbalance in the body. Doctors would often prescribe hormonal injections or medications to sufferers. Note that women who tend to use hormonal injection medication in order to tackle the development of their eggs and ovaries are prone to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome or OHSS. Women who are undergoing treatment for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), intrauterine insemination, ovulation induction, etc, are at higher risk of developing this health condition.

In the case of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, the ovaries of the affected women would swell and become painful. This mainly occurs when she consumes too much hormonal medication. Doctors should be careful to prescribe only the adequate amount in order to avoid OHSS. Hence, this is a rare health condition. The chance of developing OHSS drops further if you are consuming medications orally. In rare occasions, women who are not undergoing any fertility treatments can develop Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.

The Symptoms

There are many symptoms which indicate OHSS, and detecting these is key to calling for medical assistance on time and tackling your specific issue. Women undergoing ovulation or fertility treatment often start exhibiting these symptoms within ten days after taking hormone injections. These symptoms may, however, range from mild to severe. Plus, they may either improve or get worse over time. Some of the notable symptoms you must watch out for are listed below.


  • Mild or moderate pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased waist size or abdominal bloating
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Tenderness in the ovarian areas

In most cases, these mild symptoms in women’s health clinics who use hormone injection for their fertility treatment may vanish within a few days. Nevertheless, it may get worse and last for many weeks if the affected woman gets pregnant in the course of the treatment.

Severe OHSS

  • Rapid weight gain
  • Severe and persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Excessive pain in the abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood clots in the leg
  • Decreased urination
  • Tight or bloated abdomen

When to Consult a Doctor       

If you are undergoing any fertility or hormone treatments and if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is recommended to talk to your doctor. In case you are suffering from mild OHSS, your doctor may observe you for rapid weight gain or other worsening symptoms. Additionally, it is really important to consult your doctor right away if you experience pain in the leg or abdomen, or if you develop breathing problems while undergoing fertility treatment.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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