Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is the overstimulation of the
ovaries that may occur as a result of in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a type of infertility treatment that uses multiple eggs at one time to
raise the chances of producing embryos that are good candidates for
Before IVF, a woman uses medicine or hormones to
stimulate multiple egg production (superovulation). The eggs are then collected
for laboratory use. In a small number of IVF cycles, superovulation
overstimulates the ovaries. This problem is called ovarian hyperstimulation
Doctors watch closely for signs of ovarian hyperstimulation
during superovulation. When this condition occurs, the medicine is stopped.
Any procedure, such as egg collection, planned for that particular cycle is
postponed until all symptoms are gone, usually in 2 to 4 weeks.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can be mild, moderate, or
Mild hyperstimulation causes enlargement of the
ovaries and discomfort and fluid buildup in the abdomen.
hyperstimulation causes additional symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and
shortness of breath. This condition may require bed rest.
hyperstimulation can cause life-threatening fluid buildup around the heart and
lungs and in the abdomen, and a drop in blood fluid content. This condition
requires urgent medical care and hospitalization to prevent liver failure,
stroke, or heart damage.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology