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Side Effects of HCG Injections for Infertility

author image Carole Anne Tomlinson
Carole Anne Tomlinson is a registered nurse with experience in rehabilitation, nutrition, chemical dependency, diabetes and health problems related to the elderly. Tomlinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and is presently working on her master's degree in nursing. Her screenplays have been viewed by Merchant Ivory, Angela Lansbury and Steven King's associates.
Side Effects of HCG Injections for Infertility
A woman is receiving an injection. Photo Credit crossstudio/iStock/Getty Images


If you take a pregnancy test, most likely the kit you bought tests for the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin hormones in your urine. This hormone, HCG, only occurs in your body under normal circumstances when you become pregnant. When you have trouble conceiving, your fertility specialist may recommend and prescribe injections of HCG alone with other hormones and the drug clomiphene, MayoClinic.com reports, to help you get pregnant. HCG aids your ovaries to release your eggs for conception. The injections may produce some side effects.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

When you get HCG injections to help treat your infertility, you risk developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. MayoClinic.com says that approximately 25 percent of those women using HCG injections suffer some mild form of this syndrome but that it generally ends after a week. The organization says the syndrome may last longer if you conceive but that only a few women using HCG get the severe form. If you develop the mild form of OHSS, you may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, pain in your abdomen, bloating, vomiting and a feeling of tenderness. The more serious version of OHSS may produce such symptoms as breathing problems, severe pain in your abdominal region, discolored urination and others. Seek immediate medical intervention if you suspect you have the serious form of OHSS.

Breast Problems

Because HCG is a hormone related to conception, you may experience problems with your breasts when taking injections of it, Drugs.com says. Your breasts may feel tender or painful. You may notice swelling in your breasts as well. These side effects typically end as your body adjusts to HCG infusions, but ask your physician about them if they don't.

Weight Gain

Typically, you have some slight weight gain when you start taking HCG shots. This occurs because of fluid retention, Drugs.com says. You also may experience swelling or edema throughout your body, giving you the appearance of gaining weight. Although slight increases in weight generally occur with HCG fertility treatments, watch for sudden and excessive extra pounds because that could occur as a symptom of OHSS.


HCG injections push an extra amount of the hormone into your body. Hormones often influence moods and mental state. HCG can cause a feeling of emptiness and hopelessness, otherwise known as depression. The hormone injection can induce a state of restlessness and irritability as well. Side effects such as these typically stop when you adjust to the injections, but ask your doctor about them if they worry you.

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