What to Do About IVF Constipation

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a miraculous medical process that has opened doors to conception that were historically closed to those struggling with fertility issues, but as anyone who has undergone it can attest: it isn’t always a walk in the park. One common thing many who are undergoing IVF experience is constipation, which is about as fun as it sounds. If you are experiencing this, here’s the good news: you’re not alone, and there are several things that you can do from the comfort of your own home to help.

What is IVF constipation, and why does it happen?

Constipation occurs when stool fails to pass from the colon. The longer the stool remains in the large intestine, or colon, the more it hardens and the more difficult it becomes to pass. So why is constipation a common side effect of IVF? It’s all about hormones. Hormone levels within the body can impact many of the body’s internal systems, including the bowels. Progesterone, which plays a key role in IVF treatment, has been known to cause constipation – as a muscle relaxant, it can cause the colon to relax to the point that it fails to move waste through in a timely manner. Alternately, the body’s fluid levels also can contribute to constipation: during an IVF cycle, the follicles are stimulated to release multiple eggs, and each follicle requires fluid to support the growing egg. More fluid for the follicles means less fluid elsewhere, including in the colon.

I’m undergoing an IVF treatment, and I’m constipated. How do I find some relief?

Unpleasant as constipation may be, it should not be assumed to be particularly serious in regards to IVF, as most bowel movements return to normal after the conclusion of the treatment. If you find yourself constipated, here’s a few things that may help in the meantime:

  • Drink lots of water. Remember, a lack of fluids is part of the problem! Making sure you stay hydrated is the first line of defense against IVF constipation.
  • Elevate your feet. Using a small step stool or very thick pillow (about six to nine inches of height is ideal) while you are on the toilet, which will create a squatting position of sorts for your body. This straightens the colon, which can help with constipation.
  • Take short walks. Short (10 to 20 minute), low-impact walks can help get things moving.
  • Eat your fiber. Foods that are high in fiber help to promote bowel movements.
  • Ask your doctor for help. If all else fails, let your specialist know what’s going on, and they may be able to provide you with additional advice or even medications to alleviate your constipation.

If you are interested in learning more about surrogacy, egg donation or alternative family planning, please contact the experts at Simple Surrogacy today through the website or by calling (866) 842-8813. Our team is ready to answer your questions and help you begin your journey!

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