Constipation After Egg Retrieval: Best Strategies for Relief

| Reviewed By Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

The procedure of collecting eggs can result in discomfort and side effects afterwards.

This is an essential step in the IVF journey, but you may find that you are bloated, crampy, and constipated when it’s complete. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to deal with constipation.

What helps constipation after egg retrieval? Drinking plenty of healthy fluids, eating fiber-rich foods, maintaining electrolyte levels, avoiding junk and high-sugar foods, and taking a magnesium supplement, laxative, or stool softener approved by your doctor can all help with constipation after egg retrieval. Walking is also very beneficial.

To make sure you go in with as much knowledge as possible, find out great ways to help avoid or alleviate major constipation when you are undergoing fertility treatment.

Constipation After Egg Retrieval

You may not be able to avoid constipation altogether during fertility treatment, but there are things you can do to decrease the severity of constipation.

It’s important to understand why it happens and why some things you do could actually make it worse.

Why Does Egg Retrieval Cause Constipation?

High progesterone levels are what lead to constipation after egg retrieval. While the hormone levels are unavoidable, there are things you can do to help manage your constipation.

How Long Does Constipation Last After Egg Retrieval?

Constipation after egg retrieval usually lasts a few days. It could be a problem until your progesterone levels drop and your next period arrives, but many women experience relief sooner.

1. Fluid Intake

You should always stay hydrated, but that is even more important when you are undergoing fertility treatment and experiencing major hormone shifts.

Your water bottle should be your best friend, and you should drink plenty of water before and after egg retrieval.

There are also foods that contain an abundance of water, like watermelon and cucumbers.

You can also opt for beverages other than water, but make sure you are drinking liquids that are good for you and that don’t add to constipation issues.

2. The Importance of Electrolytes

You need electrolytes, especially potassium, or your colon can’t move properly and won’t be able to assist you in going number two.

You can drink beverages with electrolytes added to them, and you can also eat foods like bananas, prunes, and raisins to keep your potassium levels high enough to help with constipation.

3. Foods To Eat

You want fiber-rich foods that will keep things moving so you won’t get constipated. You just need to make sure those foods are surrounded by tons of water so the fiber doesn’t just combine and block your system.

Great foods to help you deal with constipation are:

  • Fruits, especially apples and berries
  • Lentils and beans
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli and potatoes
  • Nuts and seeds

4. Foods To Avoid

Processed foods are not your friend for a lot of reasons, but the fact that they can make constipation even worse is a big one.

Sticking with whole foods will help your body digest your food faster and make moving waste out of your system more efficient.

Foods to avoid if you are hoping to avoid constipation include:

  • Chips and other snacks that are simply fillers
  • Meat, especially red meat
  • Hot dogs and other processed deli meat
  • Fast food that is full of grease and additives
  • High-sugar snacks

5. Laxative or Stool Softener

A laxative or stool softener may be exactly what you need when your body can’t move waste on its own.

Always check with your doctor before you start a new medication or supplement to see what they recommend.

You want a gentle stool softener that will help you go to the bathroom without causing you to have diarrhea and dehydration.

Only take what your doctor recommends, and think about starting a stool softener as soon as your egg retrieval is complete.

6. Magnesium Supplement

Most of us don’t eat a diet that is rich enough in magnesium, so you may need to ask your doctor if you should take a magnesium supplement while undergoing fertility treatment.

Most prenatal vitamins contain magnesium, but you should ensure your vitamin has enough to keep your bowels moving.

Foods that can help you take in more magnesium include spinach, pumpkins seeds, and almonds. These are also great because of their fiber content.

7. Walking

Movement is good for constipation, and walking is one of the easiest ways to stay active. Walk before and after egg retrieval unless specifically told by your doctor not to do anything physical.

It’s a good idea to try to stay physical in general, even if that means trying to stand and move more than you sit during the day. This helps with constipation and with your overall health.

Trapped Gas After Egg Retrieval

Bloating and having trapped gas are both common and uncomfortable after egg retrieval. Not being able to release trapped gas means bloating and pain.

You can use a heating pad, hydrate, and take approved pain relievers to deal with the pain. 

Certain movements may help the trapped gas move, so feel free to stretch or walk if your doctor says it’s okay.

Possible Additional Symptoms After Egg Retrieval

In addition to constipation, you may also experience:

  • Spotting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Soreness where the procedure occurred

How To Relieve Bloating After Egg Retrieval

If all of the techniques mentioned above do not relieve your constipation and bloating, you should see your doctor.

You may be experiencing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), and this condition can range from mild to severe.  

If you have OHSS that does not get better on its own, your doctor may recommend certain medications, foods, or liquids to help you recover and decrease the bloating. 

Though you need to check with your doctor, it’s also possible to receive acupuncture or acupressure treatment to relieve bloating. Certain yoga moves may also help eliminate excess bloat.

How To Recover After Egg Retrieval

Some women don’t need much recovery time at all after egg retrieval. Others may have bloating, pain, and fatigue for days. Some good ways to recover after this procedure include:

  • Rest. You can start normal activities the day after the egg retrieval if you feel like it, but know that you may not, and allow for plenty of rest time.
  • Try not to stay constipated. 
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Ask for help so you don’t overextend yourself if you are in pain.
  • Eat balanced, healthy meals.

Related Questions: 

How Long Does It Take Ovaries To Recover After Egg Retrieval?

Things don’t go back to normal right after your eggs are retrieved. It can take weeks for your ovaries to go back to their normal size.

The average time is about two weeks, and you may still feel a bit bloated during this time.

Can I Go Back To Work After Egg Retrieval?

Yes, you can go back to work the day after egg retrieval in most cases. If your job requires a ton of vigorous activity, your doctor may recommend that you stay off longer or modify your responsibilities. 

Final Thoughts

While normal, constipation is an uncomfortable reality of going through fertility treatment.

Do what you can before, during, and after egg retrieval to alleviate as much discomfort from this inconvenience as possible.