Have you been struggling to get pregnant?
We totally understand your frustration and sadness, because it may feel like the odds are stacked against you.
But look, there is the option of in vitro fertilization (IVF). With this consideration, you may be asking yourself, will it negatively affect your health? Is undergoing fertility treatments the right choice not only for today but for your future self? Let’s dive in and learn more.
What Is IVF?
IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that involves fertilizing an egg in a lab before transferring it to your uterus. A combination of medications and surgical procedures is used to help the sperm fertilize an egg and help that fertilized egg implant successfully in your uterus.
Now that you know what IVF is, let’s talk about some of the known side effects of infertility treatments. While IVF is a common infertility treatment, there’s still not much research on how it affects hormonal health long-term. What we do know is that in some women, it can cause ectopic pregnancy and preeclampsia.
It’s scary to think that a treatment you need to help you become pregnant could also put you at risk. We at Belmar Pharmacy don’t want you to worry. To help calm any fears you may be having, we’re going to share with you what you need to know about how IVF affects your hormonal health.
Can IVF Cause Menopause?
The long-term effect of IVF on menopause has not been well-studied. But our own Belmar Pharmacys’ Medical Director, Dr. Angela DeRosa, DO, MBA, CPE, found through her research and clinical practice that women are at greater risk for experiencing early menopause.
“Medical professionals often downplay a lot of the risk of IVF and minimize the experience of women,” Dr. DeRosa said. “Women do have a greater risk of going through menopause or, at the very least, hormone deficiency after IVF. It also increases a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer/ovarian hyperstimulation syndromes.”Dr. Angela DeRosa
What Dr. DeRosa shares is backed up by one recent study, showing a correlation between IVF treatment and urogenital symptoms — vaginal dryness, itching or discomfort — found with menopause. But note, IVF has not been proven at this time to have a significant impact on the following menopausal symptoms:
- Depressive mood
- Mental exhaustion
- Coronary discomfort
- Hot flushes
- Muscle and joint problems
- Sleeping problems
While the same study noted above shows that the age of onset for menopause in IVF patients was earlier, the difference between those who had undergone IVF and those who had not isn’t clinically significant and requires more research. Another study found that high doses of ovulation-stimulating drugs like Clomid, a drug used to stimulate ovulation so eggs can be retrieved for IVF, and their repeated use can increase the risk of ovarian cysts, which can lead to ovarian cancer.
While IVF has not been proven to significantly impact mental health, Clomid can impact your mood because it affects how estrogen is perceived in the body. According to one study, 45% of women experience mood swings while taking the drug, and 41% experienced depression. Fortunately, once you complete an IVF cycle, your hormones will return to normal. That is one thing you can look forward to.
Keep in mind that early menopause has many causes outside of fertility treatments, including:
- Autoimmune conditions
- Family history
- Genetic disorders
We have shared some of the potential side effects of IVF but as you know everything in medicine has risks and benefits that you should consider with your doctor to determine if infertility treatments are right for you.
If you decide to undergo IVF, compounded medicine can be used to induce and maintain pregnancy. For this type of treatment, doctors prescribe bioidentical hormones that match the molecular structure of the hormones found in your body. The prescription is customized by compounding pharmacies like Belmar Pharmacy, which offer personalized prescription solutions for hormonal health based on your unique body and needs.
So, there you have it!
Now that we’ve dropped some knowledge about menopause and IVF, you should feel more empowered to pursue fertility treatments. Most women don’t have major issues so don’t let fear stop you from going after what makes your life — and family — complete, a beautiful baby!
Angela DeRosa, DO, MBA, CPE is the founder of the Hormonal Health Institute and serves as a paid consultant to Belmar Pharmacy. However, Dr. DeRosa is not an employee of Belmar Pharmacy and nothing herein should be construed as the promotion of Belmar’s compounded products over other hormone replacement therapies. Patients interested in hormone therapy are encouraged to speak to a medical professional about their medical options and before seeking treatment. Nothing herein should be construed as making a claim about the safety or effectiveness of compounded products, which includes compounded hormone pellet therapy. All information provided herein is based on Dr. DeRosa’s own clinical experience in her capacity as a board-certified internist.