Infertility comes with its own set of struggles and anxieties, especially if you have battled it for years. But when you combine infertility with complex fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI), patients can experience further stress.
At Houston Infertility Center in Houston, TX, Dr. Kristiansen will meet with you to discuss the overall treatment process to help answer any questions and provide peace of mind. One common question we regularly address is related to IVF and cramps. Below are five ways to minimize cramping, bloating, and other uncomfortable symptoms often associated with IVF.
Discover the Right Balance of Rest and Activity
Each patient is different. While some may find resting will help alleviate cramping (similar to menstrual cramps) in their lower back and abdomen, others may find daily walks and stretching beneficial in reducing their symptoms. Trying both will help you decipher what is best for you, especially if you plan on undergoing additional IVF procedures in the future.
Taking a daily walk outside can also help boost your vitamin D, while alleviating depression, anxiety, and other symptoms that can occur after taking the hormone medications required for IVF.
Apply a Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle
If you are experiencing mild to moderate cramping in your lower abdomen and back, you may find that applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the area in 20-minute intervals will help reduce side effects. Because the success rate of your IVF is dependent on multiple steps all working together at the same time, we recommend speaking to your doctor in advance before trying anything new.
In addition to cramping, excess bloating is another uncomfortable symptom often experienced when taking hormone-inducing medications and after undergoing egg retrieval. Drinking plenty of water will not only help keep your body hydrated, it will prevent your body from retaining excess fluid, often the cause for increased bloating. We also recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners, salt, and starches, as well as eating a diet high in fiber to aid your digestive system.
Take Over-the-counter Pain Medications
When cramping is preventing you from focusing on your regular daily activities, you can also take certain medications to help reduce side effects. Regular or extra strength Tylenol are allowed before, during, and after the IVF cycle. However, you will need to avoid medications containing ibuprofen, such as Advil and Aleve. Before taking anything, including herbal supplements, please contact your medical professional.
Find a Friend
Joining a support group or confiding in a friend who has undergone IVF can also help you gain a better understanding of what to expect going into IVF, especially if your friend has had a positive outcome. Knowing ahead of time what to expect will help you manage your expectations and keep your mind from jumping to worst-case scenarios when side effects occur. A trusted friend will also know the right ways to encourage you and keep your mind occupied, especially during the waiting period between embryo transplantation and the pregnancy test.
Call Your Doctor
If at any point your side effects seem abnormal, or you notice increased cramping followed by excess bleeding (more than just light spotting), please contact your doctor right away. This could be the sign of something more severe that needs immediate medical attention.
Contact Us Today
If you interested in learning more about IVF and the other fertility treatments we provide, contact Houston Infertility Center today online or by calling (713) 862-6181 to schedule your consultation. We look forward to helping you start a family.