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Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (Hcg)

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (Hcg)

Has the HCG diet been shown to be safe and effective?

No on both counts. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised consumers to steer clear of over-the-counter weight-loss products that contain HCG. HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy.

As a prescription medication, HCG is used mainly to treat fertility issues. HCG is not approved for over-the-counter use, nor has it been proved to work for weight loss. HCG medications are required to carry a label from the FDA noting that the medication is not effective for weight loss. Some over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are labeled "homeopathic" — but the FDA says they're still not safe. Companies that sell over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are breaking the law.

HCG to detect pregnancy

An egg is normally fertilized by a sperm cell in a fallopian tube . Within 9 days the fertilized egg moves down the fallopian tube into the uterus. It then attaches (implants) to the wall of the uterus. After the fertilized egg implants, the growing placenta starts releasing hCG into your blood. Some hCG also gets passed in your urine. HCG can be found in the blood before the first missed menstrual period. This can be as early as 6 days after the egg implants.

HCG helps to keep your pregnancy going. It also affects the development of your baby (fetus). Levels of hCG go up fast in the first 14 to 16 weeks after your last menstrual period. They are the highest around the 14th week following your last period. They then go down gradually. The amount that hCG goes up early in pregnancy can give information about your pregnancy and the health of your baby. Soon after delivery, hCG can no longer be found in your blood.

More hCG is released in a multiple pregnancy, such as twins or triplets, than in a single pregnancy. Less hCG is released if the fertilized egg implants in a place other than the uterus, such as in a fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic pregnancy .

What is HCG?

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that supports the normal development of an egg in a woman's ovary, and stimulates the release of the egg during ovulation.

HCG is used to cause ovulation and to treat infertility in women, and to increase sperm count in men. HCG is also used in young boys when their testicles have not dropped down into the scrotum normally. This can be caused by a pituitary gland disorder.

HCG may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

How should I use HCG?

Use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

HCG is given as an injection under the skin or into a muscle. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be shown how to inject your medicine at home. Do not self-inject human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

Use each disposable needle only one time. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

HCG side effects

Some women using human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) have developed a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), especially after the first treatment cycle. OHSS can be a life-threatening condition. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms of OHSS:

  • severe pelvic pain;
  • swelling of the hands or legs;
  • stomach pain and swelling;
  • shortness of breath;
  • weight gain;
  • diarrhea;
  • nausea or vomiting; or
  • urinating less than normal.

This medication can cause early puberty in young boys. Call your doctor if a boy using this medicine shows early signs of puberty, such as a deepened voice, pubic hair growth, and increased acne or sweating.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache;
  • feeling restless or irritable;
  • mild swelling or water weight gain;
  • depression;
  • breast tenderness or swelling; or
  • pain, swelling, or irritation where the injection is given.
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