HCG is a common term which actually stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. HCG is a human hormone that becomes present when someone develops certain medical conditions such as cancer. In patients with many types of cancer, the hormone becomes a tumor marker. It is a glycoprotein hormone that is also produced when a woman becomes pregnant and allows doctors to establish a pregnancy. It is this hormone that is detected in home pregnancy tests to indicate a positive pregnancy result. In cancer patients, the indication of HCG gives doctors the information that they need to determine whether or not a patient needs further treatment.
HCG has also been used recently as an aid in weight loss and is used to promote the production of testosterone in men and in adolescent boys. During the 1950s, a British physician discovered that injections of the hormone as well as oral supplements allowed dieters to maintain a lower calorie diet as the hormone itself works as an appetite suppressant. Many dieters maintain caloric intakes of just around 500 calories per day while taking HCG injections and/or supplements.
HCG side effects are very uncommon although a few have been reported over the years. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of using HCG include headaches, irritability, water retention, breast tenderness, restlessness, depression and swelling at the site of injections. Pain at the injection site may also occur but is not considered to be a major problem. Patients taking HCG in any form are encouraged to contact their doctor if and when any side effects do begin.
Other more rare HCG side effects include the development of ovarian hyper-stimulation in female patients which requires immediate treatment and can be followed by symptoms such as pain in the pelvic area, swelling of the hands, feet and legs, abdominal swelling and pain, difficulty breathing, weight gain, vomiting and nausea, diarrhea and lack of urination. If any of these side effects are noted after beginning HCG therapy, it is highly recommended that you contact your doctor right away. If the symptoms are severe, you should seek medical treatment immediately as these can be life threatening.
The most commonly noted and least severe side effects include bloating and pain or discomfort in the stomach or abdominal region. Few patients experience difficulty in urinating, breast tenderness or growth, depression and restlessness and/or insomnia. It is important to understand that most patients who take HCG will never experience any side effects at all. If your doctor has determined that HCG is right for you, you may want to consult with your doctor before beginning the medication and discuss the potential side effects and the risks that are associated with the medication.
If you notice any swelling in the extremities, mood changes such as irritability or depression or early signs of puberty in boys, you should contact your physician immediately. Also, if you are a woman who is using HCG for fertility along with menotropins, contact your physician immediately if you notice any abdominal pain, swelling or pressure. Chest pain, weakness on a specific side of your body, slurred speech or confusion can also be a sign of a serious adverse reaction to HCG and should be reported immediately.
Serious allergic reactions to HCG are considered to be extremely rare, although there is always the risk of a reaction to any new medication that you may be taking. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction including itching or swelling around the face, throat or tongue, rash on the body, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and dizziness, you should seek emergency medical attention right away. Keep in mind that not everyone will exhibit the same side effects or the same signs of an allergic reaction. If you notice anything out of the ordinary after beginning this medication, you should contact your physician immediately to check for potential adverse effects or risks.
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