The IVF process is no walk in the park, and many women who are undergoing fertility treatments experience uncomfortable side effects like constipation. The good news is, it’s totally normal and there are things you can do from the comfort of home to help relieve it.
Constipation can occur because of the stimulation medications, which cause the ovaries to enlarge and stretch out, as well as the egg retrieval procedure itself. It’s also because of the anesthesia used during the procedure, which can temporarily paralyze some of your internal muscles including the ones responsible for pushing food through the digestive tract.
This symptom can last for a few days after egg retrieval or it might persist until your next menstrual cycle when progesterone levels drop. If it lasts longer than that, speak to your doctor as this may be a sign of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
You can help prevent constipation after egg retrieval by drinking lots of water and other fluids, eating high-fiber foods like chia seeds and prunes, maintaining electrolyte levels, avoiding junk and sugary foods, and taking a magnesium supplement or stool softener approved by your doctor. Being lightly active can also help as this will get your body moving. In addition, you should be sure to get a good night’s sleep after the procedure and have a friend or family member drive you home from the clinic so you can rest. This will allow your body to heal quickly and prevent you from feeling stressed and strained.