What is HCG?
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that is naturally found in the placenta during pregnancy as well as in the ovary. Also known colloquially as the “pregnancy hormone”, HCG is what take-home pregnancy test for. Currently, the FDA has approved HCG for use as a fertility treatment, thanks to its effects of stimulating ovulation in women and increasing sperm counts in men. HCG may also be prescribed for a variety of other purposes.
When prescribed medically, HCG is most commonly taken in the form of an injection just under the skin or into a muscle. These injections may be performed in a medical office, or they may be done at home by the patient. If you or a loved one is taking HCG injections at home, your doctor, nurse or pharmacist should tell you where and how to make the injection. You should not self-inject or administer HCG to anyone if you do not fully understand how to do it properly.
The affected skin area should always be cleaned prior to the injection. Each needle should only be used once, and following the injection, always dispose of the used needle and syringe properly.
HCG Injection Precautions
You should not use HCG if you have had an allergic reaction to the HCG hormone in the past. You should also not use it if you are currently pregnant, have or have had a hormone-related cancer or early puberty also known as “precocious puberty”. Consult with your doctor if you are unsure about anything.
It is also important that you consult with your doctor about using HCG if you have an ovarian cyst, a disorder of the thyroid or adrenal glands, cancer of any kind, heart or kidney disease, non-menstrual uterine bleeding, epilepsy, migraines or asthma.
Always keep HCG and related materials properly stored and out of reach of children. Never share your HCG with others, even if they have also been prescribed HCG. Use only for the purposes it was prescribed for. If you have questions, ask your doctor before acting on anything.
HCG Risks and Side Effects
Though most are rare, any of the following risks or side effects may result from HCG injections:
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
- Water retention
- Pain or irritation around the injection site
- Early puberty, especially in males
- Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.)
Call your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects, especially when it comes to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (symptoms may include shortness of breath, non-menstrual uterine bleeding, abdominal pain, etc.).
Reaction with Other Medications
Other drugs may react with HCG, but right now little research has been done on this. Consult with your doctor about any other medications you may be taking while taking HCG, including over-the-counter treatments like vitamin supplements, minerals, herbal products, etc.. Never start a new medication (prescribed or over-the-counter) without letting your doctor know.