If you have been diagnosed with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, diet becomes even more important. What to eat to ease the symptoms or discomfort and what is good for you? ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is caused by taking injectable hormone medications to stimulate egg development in your ovaries. OHSS can cause rapid weight gain, abdominal pain, vomiting and shortness of breath. The majority of women diagnosed with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome will experience a mild form of the symptoms which usually resolves within 1 to 2 weeks.
However, in about 20% of cases, the abdominal discomfort associated with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can be quite uncomfortable and take up to a month to resolve. The symptoms may become severe in about 2% cases and hospitalization is necessary.
It’s important to note that OHSS is a syndrome, so it’s a collection of symptoms and thus the treatment will be slightly different for everyone depending on the manifestations of the symptoms.(1)
What To Eat & Avoid When You Have Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome?
Most of the symptoms will be treated by your doctor with medications, but there are a few dietary interventions that may be needed and further help you feel better. In ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, most patients will just have some nausea and bloating for a few days that will go away without needing any treatment. You may consider it like morning sickness. The things to remember:
Drink plenty of water. If you are nauseous or vomiting, just like when you have morning sickness, ginger can help too. Have some ginger grated and it to your fruit juice or stir fry.
Try to eat in a small amount at a time, low-fat, nutritious, regular, carbohydrate-rich snacks throughout the day, such as chicken soup, plain rice, peeled apple slices, vegemite, and toast or butter-free popcorn.(2)(3)
The Fluid Intake For Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
If your condition worsens and you have a vomiting tendency with fluid build-up, the main dietary intervention is to adjust your fluid intake. Depending upon your condition, you may either need to increase your fluid intake or reduce it. If you’re vomiting a lot, you may be losing a lot of fluids and need to replace them, but if your body is not processing fluids properly, you may need to restrict your fluid intake.
This is why it’s extremely important to get personalized advice for your condition. Your doctor can advise you regarding this. If your doctor advises you to increase your fluid intake sports drinks and soups are often a good option. Try to take small sips regularly, rather than just having fluids in big amounts a couple of times per day.
Most patients will need to aim for approximately three liters per day, but you may need more.
If you need to restrict your fluids, remember that the foods that are solid at room temperature but turn into a fluid in your mouth are also considered fluids. So, foods like jelly and ice cream are also fluids.
Again, your doctor should tell you how much you need to restrict your fluid intake, but usually, it is one liter per day. Have the required amount of water in a bottle and sip that slowly throughout the day to maintain the volume. Sucking on ice chips or eating fresh fruit or vegetables can also be helpful if your mouth feels dry.(1)
Low Salt Diet For Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: The second most common dietary modification is a low salt diet. Not all patients need this, because you may be losing a lot of salt if you are vomiting excessively. But if you are overloaded with fluid, your doctors may want you to have a low salt diet to excrete more fluid out of your body. Salts help your body to retain fluid as water molecules bind to salts. Low salt diet means limiting sodium intake.
Overall a reasonable nutritious diet containing more high-fiber, fresh vegetables and fruits, a balanced diet, including protein, sugar, fat, vitamins is ideal for patients with ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.(4)
High Protein Diet: A high protein diet may improve maintaining vascular permeability and reduce water leakage.(5)
Overcoming Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: It is important to maintain an optimistic and happy mood. Long-term mental stress, anxiety, irritability, pessimism, and other emotions lead to an imbalance between arousal and inhibition processes in the cortex. So, you have to keep a good mood. Pay attention to rest and balance between work and leisure. Having an optimistic, positive, upward attitude towards life shows great help in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome prevention.(3)
- Pellicer N, Galliano D, Pellicer A. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. The Ovary: Elsevier; 2019:345-362.
- Medicine PCotASfR. Prevention and treatment of moderate and severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: a guideline. Fertility and sterility. 2016;106(7):1634-1647.
- Nelson SM. Prevention and management of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Thrombosis research. 2017;151:S61-S64.
- Moderate O. Treatment of Ovarian Hyperstimulation. Complications and Outcomes of Assisted Reproduction. 2017:141.
- Zhang X, Zheng Y, Guo Y, Lai Z. The Effect of Low Carbohydrate Diet on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. International Journal of Endocrinology. 2019;2019.
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