HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone produced by the body during pregnancy and supports the growth of a fertilized egg in the ovary of a woman. This hormone also stimulates the release of the egg cell during the ovulation period.
Since HCG promotes ovulation, treatments using the hormone have been administered to women suffering from fertility issues. It is also prescribed to men to increase sperm count. HCG treatment is also prescribed to young boys whose testicles have not moved down into the scrotum normally. A disorder in the pituitary gland usually causes this condition.
Administration and Effects
HCG can be injected into a muscle or under the skin. For those who self-administer the injection, the health care provider will provide specific instructions on where and how to inject the HCG. It is required that the patient immediately contact the doctor if there are signs of pain, blood clot, warmth, numbness, redness, tingling on arm or leg, extreme dizziness, confusion, or severe headache.
A disposable needle should only be used once and then thrown away. Put the used needle in a puncture proof container and keep it out of reach of pets and children. The pharmacist can help explain the way of disposing used needles.
There are HCG treatment products that come in powder form and include a separate liquid; these two should be mixed together so that they can be drawn into the syringe. For convenience, other companies manufacture syringes that are pre-filled with single doses of HCG.
If the HCG medication contains particles inside or has changed color, do not use it. The health care provider should be immediately contacted to get a new prescription. Unmixed HCG should be stored away from light, heat, and moisture – at room temperature. Once mixed, the HCG must be kept inside the refrigerator until it’s ready to be injected. If not used for more than 30 days, the mixed medicine should be thrown away.
Some women undergoing HCG treatment may suffer from OHSS or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms of this condition include severe pelvic pain, stomach swelling and pain, swelling of the legs and hands, breath shortness, diarrhea, weight gain, vomiting, and nausea.
HCG treatment in young boys can also cause early puberty. Signs of the effects are pubic hair growth, deepened voice, worsened acne, and increased sweating.
HCG has also been known to increase the possibility of having multiple pregnancies. Women undergoing HCG treatment might conceive twins, triplets, or quadruplets. This can be a high-risk condition for both the mother and the babies.
Although HCG is used to treat infertility, using the treatment while pregnant can cause birth defects and should never be used throughout the pregnancy.
HCG medication should not be used if there is a known allergic interaction to the hormone or if the patient has:
– Precocious puberty
– Prostate cancer or other cancers related to hormones (breast, uterus, ovary, pituitary or hypothalamus)
– An adrenal or thyroid gland disorder
– A cyst in the ovary
– Uterine bleeding whose cause is yet to be determined
– Kidney disease
– Heart disease
There are cases in which HCG dosage reduction can be adjusted. In order to monitor the progress the treatment, the patient will need to visit the doctor regularly. The patient is required not to miss any checkup schedule.
When a dose is missed the patient should immediately contact the doctor. The patient should also seek immediate medical attention if too much of the HCG treatment is used, although over-dosage of HCG has not been shown to result to life-threatening conditions.