Managing OHSS with PCOS

Did you know that women with PCOS are up to 8 times more likely to experience OHSS with IVF than the average? OHSS affects 3% to 6% of women who go through in vitro fertilization (IVF). A 2020 study found that 24.8% of women with PCOS developed OHSS after undergoing assistive reproductive technology (ART) / IVF. If you have PCOS, endometriosis and/or fibroids please ensure your IVF doctor is aware of this and walks you through potential complications and provides advice on adjustments to the IVF protocol based on your medical history.

What is OHSS?

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), is a possible complication of in vitro fertilization (IVF). In OHSS the ovaries swell and fluid leaks into the body. 

Women with OHSS have a large number of growing follicles along with high estradiol levels. This leads to fluid leaking into the abdomen (belly). This fluid can cause bloating, nausea, and swelling of the abdomen. In its severe form you can experience blood clots, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, dehydration, and vomiting.

5 Ways to Manage Moderate OHSS with PCOS

  1. Fluids – not plain water, but fluids with electrolytes. You can buy them or make your own at home. My go-to is unsweetened coconut water. (Coconut water /  watermelon /  lemon or lime / Himalayan sea salt). Outside of this, I opt for water with lemon and salt or tea with milk (I prefer plantbased, but do whatever works for you) 
  2. Slow walks – if you are able to take slow walks, it helps to prevent blood clots
  3. Daily weigh ins – you can experience rapid weight gain with severe OHSS. Monitoring your weight is one check to understand the severity.
  4. Vitamins – multi or prenatal vitamins
  5. Mini-high-protein meals – it’s difficult to eat when you are feeling crazy bloated, so I opt for easy meals rich in protein, potassium and magnesium. Check out our blog for a few of our favorites, that even include our Gwellnola.


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