What is OHSS?
According to the ASRM, “Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) is an exaggerated response to ovulation induction therapy. OHSS is a self-limiting disorder that usually resolves spontaneously within several days, but may persist for longer durations.”
OHSS is basically an adverse reaction to those stim meds that are pumping through your body and making your ovaries work overtime. Before your procedure, you should know the basics about OHSS so you are prepared if you experience any symptoms.
10 Things You Should Know About OHSS Before Freezing Your Eggs
1) Approximately one quarter of women who take hyper stimulation medication get a mild form of OHSS.
2) OHSS is classified into 3 categories: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild symptoms include bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and weight gain. In addition to the mild symptoms, moderate symptoms include excessive weight gain (greater than 2 pounds/day), vomiting, diarrhea, and dark urine. Severe symptoms can include shortness of breath, urination cessation, calf and chest pains, and abdominal distention.
3) Mild and moderate OHSS is treated on an outpatient basis with bed rest, fluids, and lab work to monitor electrolytes and blood counts. Ultrasound may be used to monitor the size of ovarian follicles. In severe cases, aspiration of accumulated fluid from the abdominal cavity may be necessary.
4) Knowing your FSH, AMH, ovarian volume, antral follicle count and being monitored closely is one way to prevent OHSS.
5) Unlike the hCG trigger which lasts in your system for 7-10 days, one approach is to do a Lupron trigger which is a shorter acting medication. Since you are exposed to a medication that is shorter acting and won’t be stimulating your ovaries even after the egg retrieval, OHSS may be prevented.
6) There are a number of different medications that have been used as well such as IV Hespan and IV Albumin treatments that can be given on the day of the egg retrieval that may prevent OHSS.
7) Acupuncture can be an effective treatment if the onset of OHSS is identify at a very early stage.
8) Eating a high protein diet and taking whey powder post procedure can help reduce the likelihood of developing OHSS.
9) Drinking a lot of fluids post retrieval like coconut water and Gatorade can help restore your electrolytes.
10) If you think you may have OHSS contact your doctor or nurse immediately – do not self treat.
Michelle froze her eggs and developed OHSS. Here is what it was like for her:
After the procedure I developed Ovarian Hyper Stimulation which effects a small percentage of women. I developed it about 4 days after the procedure.I started to gain weight quickly and develop a lot of pain in my stomach and ovaries. I was very bloated and extremely uncomfortable. I knew I was developing the signs of OHSS and was very concerned. This was also my biggest fear as beforehand I read about this online and just hoped I would not get it. I sought out other people online who went through this and talked to them. I went to my Dr. and he began to monitor me.
The next day I got worse, went back to the Dr. and then got worse again the following day. I was now up 13 lbs and looked 4 months pregnant. I was in horrible pain. I was depressed and concerned that this would not go away. I relied on my friends and family to help me and so thankful I had their support. Since the fluid was so high in my stomach, my Dr. decided that I needed the fluid drained from my stomach. I had that done and luckily it worked and I felt so much better. Every day after the draining, I was improving. By the time I got my period (which was about 2 weeks later) I was pretty much back to normal. Even with this happening, I do not regret my decision for freezing my eggs at all. We called it a”blip” in time and all worth it knowing I have 18 frozen eggs to use one day. – Michelle (Eggsurance Women Like You interview)