Fertility treatments have come a long way in the last few decades.
Women dealing with fertility issues are able to access treatment to help them have a much-wanted baby.
Gonal F is used to treat infertility in women who have healthy ovaries but aren’t ovulating. It is used with other fertility medications.
Most fertility treatments have side effects. But what if you have no side effects from Gonal F?
Does having no side effects from Gonal F mean you’ll miss out on getting pregnant? Let’s look at this in more detail.
What is Gonal F?
Gonal F is an injectable fertility treatment that contains follicle-stimulating hormone (FHS). It helps to stimulate healthy ovaries to produce eggs. It’s considered to be controlled ovarian hyperstimulation therapy (OHSS).
It is also used for men to help stimulate sperm production.
Gonal F isn’t effective for women who have a primary ovarian failure, which means their ovaries aren’t able to produce an egg.
What are the side effects of Gonal F?
The most common side effects of Gonal F are:
- Mild stomach pain
- Pelvic tenderness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Breast swelling or tenderness
- Reactions at the injection site.
While you might experience some, all or none of these side effects from Gonal F, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate the higher the dose, the more likely you’ll have some reaction.
No side effects from Gonal F doesn’t necessarily mean the treatment isn’t working. It might simply indicate the dosage needs to be adjusted.
Is Gonal F safe to use?
Rare but serious side effects of Gonal F include:
- Pain, redness and swelling of calf muscles
- Unusual bleeding from the uterus/vagina
- Numb, cold and pale skin on limbs and hands/feet
- Swelling in ankles, hands or feet.
These reactions are rare but should be reported immediately to your fertility specialist.
Treatment with Gonal F increases your risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
This happens when your ovaries overreact to the hormone in Gonal F and become larger. Your fertility specialist will monitor your ovaries with blood tests and ultrasound to avoid OHSS.
Gonal F is also likely to increase your chance of becoming pregnant with twins or triplets.
What happens if you forget to take Gonal F?
Gonal F is designed to be self administered as a daily injection over a certain period of time. The medication is injected, with a short needle, into the fat just under the skin – usually into the lower belly area or upper thigh.
If you forget to take your Gonal F, contact your fertility specialist for advice.
Does Gonal F cause mood swings?
As if it’s not enough to be dealing with the emotions of having fertility problems, you might also notice your moods are all over the place.
Most women will experience mental health concerns during treatment for infertility. It’s never been very clear whether experiencing anxiety and depression is linked to having treatment, to the hormonal treatments themselves, or both.
Mood swings are very commonly associated with fluctuating hormones. Women who have experienced premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy or perimenopause can attest to the relationship between their changing hormone levels and their moods.
It can be difficult to know whether mood swings, irritability and depression are related to the actual medication or a result of the emotional impact of infertility.
Does Gonal F make you gain weight?
If you’ve ever used birth control pills, you probably noticed some fluctuations in your weight. Fertility medications can have the same effect on your body as the contraceptive pill does.
If you’re on Gonal F and you notice your clothes are tighter or you feel bloated around the middle, it’s likely the fertility treatment is the culprit. Most women report feeling bloated during the egg stimulation process.
This is often caused by high estrogen levels, which cause water retention.
You can also develop a ‘bump’ if your ovaries swell due to follicle-stimulating hormones.
Your ovaries are normally no bigger than an almond but, when they are stimulated to produce eggs, they can swell to the size of an orange. This can make your middle feel bloated.
Can I exercise while taking Gonal F?
Exercise is an important part of your fertility treatment but, like anything else, the key is moderation.
Fertility experts advise against strenuous or high impact exercise during fertility treatments – especially during ovary stimulation. This is due to an increased risk of ovary torsion.
Does Gonal F produce more follicles?
Gonal F works by stimulating your ovaries to produce more follicles than would normally grow during your menstrual cycle.
Your fertility specialist doesn’t want to overstimulate your ovaries – just stimulate them enough to produce at least one good egg for fertilisation.
Does Gonal F cause dizziness?
Some women experience no side effects from Gonal F; others respond differently.
Dizziness is one side effect some women report when having Gonal F treatment to stimulate their ovaries.
It’s a good idea to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how Gonal F affects you – especially when it comes to dizziness.
Can Gonal F cause headaches?
Some women experience headaches after Gonal F injections. This could be due to hyperstimulation of the ovaries.
It’s not clear whether this is more likely if you’re prone to having migraines.
If you do experience headaches, your fertility specialist might suggest taking a mild pain reliever while you’re having Gonal F injections. Make sure you also stay well hydrated.
Does Gonal F make you nauseous?
If you experience even mild ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, nausea can be a side effect of Gonal F.
This seems to be dose-dependent; your fertility specialist will adjust the dose accordingly.
No side effects from Gonal F – is it working?
According to the information available on Gonal F, the dosage should be individualised for each woman, specific to her needs.
Generally, the treatment starts with the lowest dose likely to have good results.
This is when having no side effects from Gonal F might make you wonder whether you’re getting any benefit from the treatment.
Over time, usually after 5-7 days, the dose may be increased, depending on the response.
Lower doses might be effective and have fewer side effects. The only way to know whether Gonal F is working is to monitor with blood tests and ultrasound.
Recommended Reading: IVF and Infertility – Causes, Risk and IVF Success