During the course of your treatment, you may well be prescribed drugs to improve the number of eggs that you produce each cycle. Careful monitoring of your cycle minimises the risk of multiple pregnancy and other side effects. If you attend any doctor or hospital during the course of your treatment it is important that you inform them of the drugs you are receiving. It is also important that you inform us before the start of your treatment whether you are currently taking any other type of drugs or medication.
Side effects of ovulation stimulation tablets
Tablets used for ovulation stimulation include Clomifine (Clomid), or Tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Side-effects occur infrequently with these drugs but may include nausea, bloating and headaches. Ovarian cysts may develop due to the eggs not being released from the ovaries. These cysts usually disappear spontaneously over the next menstrual cycle
Side effects of down-regulation
During IVF or ICSI procedures you will be prescribed drugs to temporarily switch off (down regulate) your hormones. This allows us to control the time of egg ripening at the end of the stimulation phase of your treatment. As a result of taking these drugs, some women may experience effects similar to those experienced at the menopause, e.g., hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, mood swings or vaginal dryness. For the few women who do experience these side-effects, they will disappear as the effect of the stimulation drug begins.
Side effects of injectable ovulatory stimulants
These drugs produce very few side-effects. Some patients may develop some bruising at the injection sites and this is unavoidable. In less than 3% of cases some women may exhibit an exaggerated response and develop a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This occurs when a very large number of eggs (typically more than 20) are produced in one cycle. This can result in fluid leaking from your blood vessels into your abdominal cavity and in severe cases into your lungs. This is accompanied by a feeling of ill health and abdominal swelling. This is a potentially life threatening disorder but the chances of it occurring are extremely small. The condition is more likely to develop in a cycle where a pregnancy occurs. We will try to ensure that if you start to develop OHSS, this will be detected at the earliest possible time and that you are monitored and treated accordingly.
If you should feel unwell in any way during or following treatment, you should contact your Treatment Unit immediately :
- Hewitt Centre
0151 702 4123/4249 or out of hours contact the Emergency Room at the hospital on 0151 708 9988.
- Countess of Chester Hospital
01244 366261/366858 or out of hours contact Priory Ward at the hospital on 01244 365141
- Leighton Hospital
01270 273499/273354 or out of hours contact Ward 18 on 01270 612151 or main switchboard on 01270 255141 who can get a message to Mr Armatage or Wendy Mellor