HCG Diet Side Effects: The Dangerous Side Effects of HCG InjectionsThis article describes HCG diet side effects that may occur when using HCG injections. The side effects of HCG injections are potentially very serious and should not be taken lightly. These are NOT the same side effects as homeopathic HCG drops or the HCG diet itself.
HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. It's a hormone produced by women during pregnancy, and it has many beneficial effects. Among other things, it helps the baby develop properly. Dr. Simeons also theorized that it protects the mother and baby from potential calorie deficits (from extreme morning sickness, for example) by releasing abnormal fat stores, and balances out problems with the hypothalamus. HCG is used medicinally to cause ovulation in women, increase sperm count in men, and to stimulate the development of the gonads in underdeveloped young boys.
When used for dieting, HCG is injected into the body in an extremely concentrated form. It should not be surprising that there are potential side effects. Keep in mind that side effects of HCG injections are based on the doses used for fertility treatments. The doses used for weight loss and the HCG diet are very small in comparison and may result in less serious side effects.
Most Common Side Effects of HCG
These HCG side effects don't usually require medical attention and often go away during treatment.
- Breast tenderness or swelling
- Feeling sad or empty
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Pain, irritation, or swelling at place of injection
- Swelling (mild) or water retention
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
Rare But Serious Side Effects of HCG
These HCG side effects are rare but are potentially life threatening.
- Allergic reaction—warning signs include hives; difficulty breathing; or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Blood clot—warning signs include pain, warmth, redness, numbness, or tingling in your arm or leg; confusion, extreme dizziness, or severe headache
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in women—warning signs include severe pelvic pain, swelling of the hands or legs, stomach pain and swelling, shortness of breath, weight gain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or urinating less than normal
Side Effects for Females Only
These HCG side effects tend to affect females who are undergoing fertility treatments. These side effects are potentially serious and may require swift medical attention. They can also occur for a time even after you stop using HCG.
- Bloating (mild)
- Stomach or pelvic pain
Less common or rare
- Abdominal or stomach pain (severe)
- Bloating (moderate to severe)
- Decreased amount of urine
- Feeling of indigestion
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea (continuing or severe)
- Pelvic pain (severe)
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of feet or lower legs
- Weight gain (rapid)
When using HCG for fertility treatment, it can increase your chances of having a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.). Stop using HCG if you become pregnant. Using HCG while pregnant can cause birth defects in the baby.
Side Effects for Boys Only
The following HCG side effects tend to affect boys who are undergoing treatment for underdeveloped gonads. These side effects are potentially serious and may require swift medical attention.
- Enlargement of penis and testes
- Growth of pubic hair
- Increase in height (rapid)
Frequency not determined
- Difficult or labored breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Flushing of skin
- Hives or welts
- Itching of skin
- Large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, sex organs
- Pain in chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
- Redness of skin
- Severe, sudden headache
- Skin rash
- Slurred speech
- Sudden loss of coordination
- Sudden, severe weakness or numbness in arm or leg
- Sudden, unexplained shortness of breath
- Tightness in chest
- Unusually warm skin
- Vision changes
HCG can cause early puberty in young boys. Signs include a deepened voice, pubic hair growth, increased acne, or increase sweating.
Remember that these are the side effects of HCG at the high doses used for fertility treatment. The side effects of HCG injections may be less serious due to the smaller dosage. The side effects of HCG drops and the HCG diet itself are also different. Please see our other articles for more on HCG diet side effects.