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IVF Constipation – Understanding Constipation After Egg Retrieval

Expecting a child through fertility treatment is a long process. Indeed, lists of tests, medications, and procedures may impart some side effects on the female body. Some common and most underlying symptoms are bloating and constipation.

Constipation after egg retrieval is the most commonly reported side effect of IVF treatment. IVF constipation can be due to progesterone supplementation or sedative use.

In this article, I’ve mentioned all the possible facts to understand constipation after egg retrieval and its cure to relieve constipation.

Table of Content

What Is IVF?

Individuals who cannot enjoy normal fertility due to weak germ cells or unknown reasons can benefit from in-vitro fertilization. It is an assisted reproductive technique that has enabled thousands of couples to get pregnant normally.

IVF conception

An IVF procedure involves extensive mediation, surgery in which an IVF expert will subject you to several ultrasounds, as well as blood tests and minor invasive surgeries. For this purpose, you’ll need to visit a gynecologist clinic several times.

During the egg retrieval procedure, you are given medication to mature the eggs, and then these mature eggs are removed from the ovary. After that, the sperm from the partner is injected into the egg in a test tube. Specialists try to fertilize the egg with multiple known male sperm. As soon as eggs are fertilized, the embryo is implanted within the female uterus.

IVF complete procedure

Most women conceive successfully and have a normal pregnancy after the embryo is implanted. However, it is a long, expensive, and complicated procedure. Moreover, you may need a special act of precaution before and after embryo implantation to minimize the chances of miscarriage.

Apart from these, there are certain side effects associated with egg retrieval. Below are a few side effects of IVF:

  • Tenderness, pain, or bruising at the injection site
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Allergies (skin itching or redness at injection site)
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Preterm labor
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Constipation or bloating

Constipation After Egg Retrieval

Constipation is the most common side effect of IVF and other fertility treatments.

In general, constipation occurs when stools stay too long in the colon or intestinal tract. As in the colon, water absorbs from the stools, so if waste remains, it drains more water for a more extended period. As a consequence, stools can become hard and dry. In this way, defecation becomes difficult or even painful.

It is possible to become constipated after egg retrieval for a variety of reasons. Progesterone is a likely suspect, but there could be many other reasons. But how can progesterone cause IVF constipation?

Progesterone is a key hormone in infertility treatment. At the same time, it is an excellent muscle relaxant. Taking progesterone through pills or injections may relax the colon’s muscles; thus, it fails to move the stool timely. Therefore, the stool will lose more water and become harder.

Apart from it, the body’s fluid level may also contribute to constipation. During an egg retrieval process, the follicle is stimulated to release a number of mature eggs, since each follicle requires fluid to support egg maturation. In other words, more fluid in the follicle means less fluid in the rest of the body, even in the digestive tract.

In addition to these factors, removing your eggs and taking fertility drugs can also strain your digestive system and cause mild nausea, bloating, or constipation.

In vitro fertilization

Can Constipation Affect Embryo Implantation?

The embryo is implanted into the female uterus with the help of a catheter. After implantation, doctors prescribe some drugs to maintain and promote embryo growth.

Embryo transplant

Constipation after egg retrieval is almost the side effect every implanted woman experiences. You must be worried if constipation affects embryo implantation.

You have no strain on your baby while passing stool, aside from the pressure and stress you encounter. So, hard bowel movements or constipation won’t harm an embryo that’s been transferred through IVF.

Constipation may be uncomfortable for you as it causes nausea, bloating, or even stomach cramps. If constipation goes on for several days, or if you do not pass stool for three days, you may have rectal bleeding, hemorrhoids, or even rectal fissures.

How to Get Relief From IVF Constipation?

 While constipation usually does not last very long after, in vitro fertilization, the discomfort it causes can be upsetting. It is possible to alleviate pain caused by constipation and treat it.

Following are the few methods to get rid of or prevent IVF constipation:

Take Short Walks

A short walk after egg retrieval could help regulate bowel movement and normalize your toilet schedule. It helps speed digestion and facilitates peristalsis when you walk. In this way, you help move food from your stomach into your intestines.

Aside from this, walking helps prevent constipation-related acid reflux and heartburn.

Eat Plenty of Fiber

Eating fiber is as effective for softening stool as laxatives. Fiber is helpful for stomach health, particularly for constipation. Filling your diet with fiber adds bulk to your stool so that it may pass easily. Moreover, it softens the stools and relieves stomach pain.

Fiber diet to relieve IVF Constipation

Here is the fibrous food option you can take after IVF treatment:

  • Veggies (Carrot, cucumber, beet, broccoli, Swiss chard, cabbage, peas, artichokes)
  • Fruit (Apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, avocado, raspberries)
  • Dried Plums
  • Juices (Prune, lemon, and apple juice)
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Popcorn

Improve Your Potty Posture

In order to get stools done, it’s best to squat rather than sit. A muscle called the puborectalis prevents stool from moving out of your colon when you sit or stand. When you finally get to the bathroom alone, raise your feet a few inches above your pelvis, which will tighten your puborectalis muscle and straighten the kink, resulting in a smoother exit.

Potty posture for better stool flow

You can also buy a Squatty Potty Bathroom Toilet Stool for better potty posture.

Take Constipation Drugs

In order to relieve constipation caused by IVF, there are a variety of OTC options available. Most of these medicines work fast and are safe. For instance, the fiber in powder forms such as Citrucel or Metamucil increases stool movement.

Furthermore, stool softeners, like Colace, are safe and effective in relieving pregnancy constipation. As a last resort, you can also take gentle laxatives such as milk of magnesia or MiraLAX, which add fluid to the intestine.

Constipation after egg Retrieval

Nonetheless, avoid stimulant laxatives containing cascara or senna, which can become ineffective over time. Although stool softeners and milk of magnesia can be helpful for constipation, you may want to consult your physician first to avoid any complications.

Try Abdominal Massage

A simple yet highly effective method of triggering bowel movements is abdominal massage with olive oil. What are the best abdominal massage techniques for IVF constipation?

Physiotherapists can provide you with an abdominal massage that is healthy and effective. Nevertheless, when you work on it on your own, be sure to concentrate on the colon area and avoid putting too much strain on the abdominal cavity.

When Does Constipation Go Away After Egg Retrieval?

After the egg retrieval, constipation and bloating may disappear in the days following the procedure. In some people, constipation can last up to 10 days before the digestive system begins to work normally again.

Constipation After Egg Retrieval

However, a person’s severity of symptoms differs slightly from one to another. Nevertheless, you can take advantage of certain medications and home remedies to deal with constipation.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Constipation After IVF

After egg retrieval, you can relieve constipation with home remedies besides laxatives and stool softeners. Here, I’ve presented the best and most common methods for curing IVF constipation. These methods are sure to improve stool flow.

Stay Hydrated

The intestinal tract absorbs the maximum amount of water during constipation, resulting in hard stools. So drinking plenty of water restores the fluid level in the body and softens the stools. Sparkling water is recommended for constipation relief.

You should also avoid carbonated, sugary drinks while constipated.

Drink Caffeinated Coffee

As a quick way to relieve constipation, caffeine works well. You can get it from either tea or coffee. Caffeinated drinks speed up digestion, including bowel movement. It stimulates the urge to poop.

Drink coffee to avoid IVF constipation

Eat Probiotic Food

Probiotic food is good to promote stomach health. These help to lower the consequences of constipation and regulate normal defecation. Following is the list of probiotic foods you can eat to relieve constipation after an embryo transplant.

  • Miso
  • Green olives
  • Kimchi
  • Natto
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Yogurt

Take Magnesium Citrate

One of the most popular home remedies for stomach issues involves taking magnesium citrate. It is an osmotic laxative that provides relief from constipation and bloating. They are available over the counter.

Eat Prunes

Getting rid of constipation with prunes is one of the easiest and safest ways. It can be consumed in dried form or as a juice.

Prunes are good to relieve IVF constipation

It is rich in fiber and contains sugar alcohol sorbitol (has a natural laxative effect).

Do Yoga and Exercise

Regular exercise such as yoga and walking can help with constipation. The intestines can pass stool or gas in different yoga poses. For example, the cobra pose, and the Adamant pose can be helpful for constipation.

However, if you are experiencing constipation following IVF, avoid advanced yoga postures. Instead, take an everyday walk to better the condition.

Dos and Don’ts After Egg Retrieval

The recovery from egg retrieval is usually quick; however, some people may experience some soreness, cramps, or pelvic heaviness following the procedure. You’ll have a little bit of spotting, but it is nothing to worry about if it is less than spotting of periods.

The following suggestions will help the body recover and prepare for its next steps after egg retrieval:

  • You must treat discomfort after the procedure with heating pads.
  • If discomfort continues, ask the doctor for painkiller medicines.
  • Take a complete one-day rest after egg retrieval.
  • Do not undergo heavy exercise, run, or lift heavy things since your ovaries may still be enlarged and can be tendered. Take a gentle stroll instead.
  • Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks.
  • Avoid tub baths, jacuzzis, swimming, or a hot tub. Instead of a bath, take a shower.
  • Avoid sexual activity for at least one week after embryo transplant.
  • Don’t use any product near or in the vagina (douches, spermicides, vaginal creams, etc.)

Ideal Foods To Eat During IVF

You should add the following foods to your diet during the IVF process as well as afterward:

  • Leafy greens
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Salmon
  • Hummus
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Oats and whole grains
  • Berries
  • Beetroots
  • Dates
  • Yogurt

Ideally, Mediterranean diets are recommended by doctors because they emphasize fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats with low sugar intake. They lack red meat entirely.

Food to Avoid After IVF

To enjoy a healthy pregnancy, women should avoid the following foods before and after egg retrieval. 

  • Carbonated drinks (soda, cola, carbonated wines)
  • Alcohol
  • Processed food
  • Fish with high Mercury
  • Junk food
  • Raw eggs
  • Refined sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Uncooked or half-cooked seafood

Related: Foods to Avoid While Pregnant

IVF Babies vs. Normal Babies

Are IVF babies as normal as others? Indeed, yes!

As a rarefied subject, IVF is still viewed skeptically. People have several preconceived notions about it. IVF babies are considered not 100 percent normal since they are a result of the technical expertise of the doctors, a prejudice that even exists among educated people.

IVF babies are even referred to as artificial because they are created in laboratories using cutting-edge technology. This argument states that the result of an IVF process is not a product of a couple’s sexual intercourse.

Test tube baby

Indeed, because of the techniques involved, and the surgical procedures used, IVF babies are not considered as normal as those born naturally. Conservative and ignorant sections of the population have endlessly perpetuated this fallacy.

However, the reality is quite different. IVF children’s physical, mental, and emotional characteristics are the same as those of other children. They are also born naturally, like all other children.

First IVF baby
Louise Brown was the first test-tube baby born in England in 1978 to Lesley and Peter Brown. 

In order to dispel these myths, conduct your research and speak with an informed and perceptive doctor.

Enjoy a Healthy Pregnancy!

Pregnancy is always the best and most entertaining phase of life. No matter whether it is natural or you’re conceived through a medical procedure, becoming a parent is an incredible gift.

Therefore, you should take good care of your health during pregnancy to prevent gestational obstructions and give your baby a healthy start in life.


Will a donor egg have my DNA?

As part of the egg transfer process, health experts take your egg and your partner’s sperm for fertilization. In this way, your embryo has parental DNA. Indeed, your baby is genetically yours. He/She will be a combination of the genetic traits that you and your partner share.

Does egg donation hurt?

Egg donation won’t hurt you in any way. The anesthetist will sedate you and keep you asleep and pain-free throughout the entire 20-minute procedure. You may also receive a pain-relief medicine one hour before egg collection, ensuring no discomfort will occur afterward.

For those who experience discomfort, pain relievers or heating pads can be helpful.

How to get rid of bloating after egg retrieval?

It is common to suffer bloating after egg retrieval, shortly after implantation. It feels as though you have gained weight, but you haven’t. If you’re bloated, you may feel heavier and feel fuller. Your bloating will eventually subside with time, rest, and cold compresses.

Is bed rest good after the embryo transfer?

The first 24 hours following embryo transfer will likely be the most vulnerable period for embryos. Embryos must “attach” to the uterine walls within this timeframe before they can successfully implant, typically after a few days. You should therefore stay at home for the first one to two days and relax.

How do I know if the embryo has been implanted?

After implantation, certain symptoms may appear in women. You can check if you’re pregnant by taking a pregnancy test. Following are a few signs and symptoms that can help you ensure a successful embryo implant.

  • Blood spotting
  • Cramping
  • Sore breast
  • Mood swings
  • Change in basal body temperature
  • Headaches
  • Minty taste
  • Blocked nose

What to eat to avoid constipation after egg retrieval?

After egg retrieval, constipation is the most common side effect. Thus, it is good if you eat chia seeds and prunes after the procedure. Since prunes are a good source of natural laxatives and chia seeds are high in fiber. Both natural foods items will be a winning combo against IVF constipation.

Discover another fertility treatment in this article: Back Pain After IUI Is A Good Sign of Success To Be A Parent

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