Causes & Treatment

How can I reduce the egg collection bloat?

Eloise Edington  |   21 Jun 2023


Bloating after egg collection is a thing, so what can we do?

When you’re going through fertility treatment, it’s not uncommon to feel bloated, or have constipation or gas.  But how do you reduce bloating after egg collection, for a more comfortable IVF cycle?

Today, TRB has turned to Deputy Nursing Manager, Jo Whitty, at CRGH to help answer common questions about uncomfortable side effects of IVF.

The Centre for Reproductive & Genetic Health (CRGH) is a world-leading fertility clinic based in London and has been established since 1990.  Over the past 30 years, the team of fertility specialists have pioneered new fertility treatments whilst still maintaining its warm, professional approach.  Visit the CRGH partner profile here to learn more and book a fertility appointment on their website here.

What’s the (seriously uncomfortable) bloating egg collection link – and can I do anything about it?

For lots of patients undergoing fertility treatment or preservation, egg collection marks an important and exciting landmark in their treatment journey.  Egg collection is the point at which eggs are taken from the ovaries under light sedation and then either fertilised or frozen – depending on how the individual plans to proceed.

For some, egg collection marks the end of what can be the most physically intensive part of fertility treatment; the stimulation and tracking phase. It’s also the point at which you learn how many eggs, and of what quality, have made it to the freezer – which can cause both excitement and anxiety.

Taking the time you need for egg retrieval recovery is really important, and lots of patients do find themselves experiencing some physical discomfort, particularly bloating, during and shortly after this phase of treatment.

While the effects are minimal, usually short-lived and entirely normal, we wanted to answer some commonly asked questions about bloating after egg collection, hopefully to provide some guidance to those who might find themselves feeling uncomfortable after their procedure.

We turn to Jo Whitty (Deputy Nursing Manager) to explain some of the most common causes and treatments of bloating or discomfort after egg collection, and how to prep for egg retrieval recovery.

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Is bloating after egg collection normal?

Yes, it’s normal to feel some bloating up to, and post, egg collection.  This may well be due to the fertility medications which you have taken to help the ovaries produce and develop the eggs to be collected.  Once the eggs have been collected during the procedure the follicles occasionally refill with fluid for a few days and this can cause the original bloating which you may have experienced to continue for an extended period.

Why am I bloated during or after egg collection occur and what causes it?

Other reasons for bloating during fertility treatment can include the hormone levels increasing as a response to the stimulation of the ovaries to develop the eggs.  Before stimulation, your ovaries are usually very small, whereas during the stimulation the ovaries increase in size with the developing follicles.  While this is an intended part of stimulation, it can cause you to feel bloated.

At all stages of your stimulation you are monitored with regular scans and blood tests to ensure the ovaries and hormone levels remain within expected limits.  Sometimes these levels are slightly higher which can exacerbate the feelings of bloatedness.

Related article: Everything you need to know about egg freezing – with CRGH.

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How can I reduce bloating after egg collection?

  • After egg collection we recommend our patient ensure a good fluid intake (2 -3 litres of water) per day to help bloating.
  • A good diet, high in fibre and low-processed foods (fresh fruit and veg!) will also help to relieve symptoms.
  • Exercise gently (e.g. walking) can help reduce bloating after egg collection.
  • Your consultant may provide medications to minimise bloating in some treatments following egg collection, however this is on an individual basis.

How long does bloating usually last after egg collection?

Ordinarily, you can expect bloating to last for a few days after egg collection.  Very occasionally it may last longer.  If you are concerned at any stage we recommend getting in touch with your clinical health professional who will provide further advice and offer clinical review if required for your reassurance.

Occasionally, if your treatment is successful your feeling of bloating may go on for some time due to ongoing medication.

Editor’s note – When navigating egg retrieval recovery, in our experience, wearing our softest clothes in the days post-collection is an absolute must for added comfort, and confidence.

If bloating continues, a Layer Band might help. Created by Layer Clothing, these super stretchy bands are trimmed with plain or striped cuffing and can be worn over bottoms and under tops, around your hips and tummy, for extra comfort and smoothing bloat support. We love that they add a stylish pop of colour to any outfit, too.

What can I do about constipation and gas during IVF stimulation?

It is very common to experience some degree of unusual bowel activity before and during after egg collection.  You may be less physically active in the stimulation phase due to the treatment which may lead to a degree of constipation.  Alternatively, changes in hormone levels and diet can adversely affect your regular movement and cause constipation, as can changes in your normal hormone levels.

Please be reassured that all of these symptoms should return to normal within a short time frame.  It is entirely acceptable to medicate with a mild appeariant such as fybogel or laxido.  Increasing fluid intake and having a high fibre diet also helps constipation during fertility treatment.

At CRGH we pride ourselves on being there for our patients every step of the journey.  Our dedicated team of nurses and doctors are there to answer questions by telephone, email and our PatientPortal, whenever needed.

We understand that reassurance on what may seem like a small question can result in a more comfortable fertility journey for all of our patients.  We hope this article has been helpful to you, and look forward to welcoming you to CRGH.

Thank you to Jo Whitty and the team at CRGH for sharing expert advice on reducing bloating during fertility treatment.

To book an appointment with one of the world’s leading fertility clinics, click here to be taken to CRGH’s website.

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