If you've heard about hCG diet side effects, you know this "miracle" diet isn't quite what it's cracked up to be. This article offers a comprehensive overview of the side effects and dangers.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, is a hormone produced by pregnant women. The role of this hormone varies, but it helps to maintain the production of critical progesterone levels during pregnancy and is the hormone by which early pregnancy tests can register a positive response.
HCG injections have been used in conjunction with an extreme low-calorie diet to promote high degrees of weight loss of up to one to two pounds daily. Many individuals believe this weight loss comes at the cost of a dieter's health and may include some pretty hefty side effects.
The hCG Diet Side Effects
Below is a list of side effects attributed to the use of hCG as a weight loss tool. Please note, not all side effects happen to all people. Some individuals show none or all of these symptoms. It's important, if you believe you are reacting negatively to hCG that you contact a medical professional immediately.
- Mood swings and feelings of confusion
- Blood clots
- Water retention
- Breast tenderness
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
In rare, but serious cases, women using hCG for weight loss can develop Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS. Those with OHSS will experience enlarged ovaries and symptoms can range from mild to severe. A small portion of OHSS cases can be extremely serious. Anyone experiencing the following symptoms after hCG use should seek immediate medical care.
- Abdominal bloating
- Feeling of fullness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Weight gain
- Darkened urine
- Shortness of breathe
- Increased thirst
- Swelling of hands and/or feet
- Calf or chest pain
Additional Drawbacks of the Diet
Because the diet also emphasizes an extreme, low-calorie diet plan of only about 500 calories daily, individuals may also experience symptoms associated with near-starvation fad diets. Many medical professionals believe 500 calories daily is not even enough to promote proper brain function. This can result in the following symptoms.
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of mental clarity
- Head and body aches
Proponents of hCG as a weight loss tool suggest the use of the hormone actually cushions the negative effects of the low-calorie diet, suppressing appetite and preventing the uncomfortable health consequences of consuming a starvation type of diet.
Other Warnings Regarding hCG
In addition to the many hCG diet side effects, there are a few other points you will want to be aware of with regard to this potent hormone.
- Do not use hCG if you are pregnant or breast feeding. The hormone may cause birth defects. It is not known if hCG can pass to your child through breast milk, but the use of hCG by breast-feeding mothers is strongly discouraged.
- The use of hCG in young boys can cause the onset of early puberty.
- Those who have had hormone-related cancers, such as prostate cancers, should not use hCG.
- The use of hCG can increase a woman's chance of having a multiple-birth pregnancy.
- The hormone was recently added as a banned substance by Major League Baseball.
For more information on this controversial hormone, speak to a health care professional. If you or someone you know are experiencing any of the side effects listed here, consult a doctor immediately.