10 Scary Follistim Side Effects You Should Know

How often do you hear about the little-known Follistim side effects?

Not that often, probably.

In this article, we discuss 10 Follistim side effects that you should have been aware of from the first time you heard of it or considered the treatment.

But first, let’s talk a bit about the drug for the benefit of people unfamiliar with it.

Follistim is a drug that contains Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and is used to treat fertility in both men and women.

In women, it stimulates the growth and release of a mature egg when combined with the hCG hormone.

When used for men, it stimulates the testes to produce sperm.

It is administered by injecting it into the skin, and its dosage varies with different medical conditions.

For most people, it is a savior from fertility issues.

However, is it a hundred percent safe and free of adverse effects?

Read on to find out how safe (or otherwise ) it is as we discuss Follistim side effects later in this article.

Does Follistim increase the number of follicles?

Ideally, IVF should supplement the body’s reproductive process by stimulating the ovaries.

This is where potent hormonal medications like Follistim come in – they help increase the possibility of the growth of multiple follicles.

How many days do you take Follistim?

A normal-functioning woman’s daily dose goes on until the body achieves pre-ovulatory conditions.

Usually, this takes about 7 to 12 days.

How does Follistim make you feel?

Usually, reactions that are experienced after taking any medication vary from person to person.

Your experience may differ from another person’s experience due to various factors.

However, some common reactions associated with using Follistim include headaches, bloating, and abdominal pain.

Below are some less common Follistim side effects that may take you by surprise.

Follistim side effects

There are a lot of symptoms associated with taking Follistim.

If you are looking to get started on the medication, then here are some Follistim side effects you should expect:

#1. It may cause ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are quite common in women undergoing fertility medication.

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that grows on or in an ovary.

They contain blood or tissue when they are not filled with fluid.

While most are relatively small and harmless, some enlarge, cause pain, or burst open. In such cases, one may require medication or surgery to get rid of them.

Follistim, like most fertility treatments, carries a significant risk of cyst development.

Large ovarian cysts may need to be surgically removed. They increase the risk of growing into cancerous tumors. However, many cysts go away on their own. Your doctor may also prescribe contraceptives.

#2. You may develop intravascular thrombosis

Thrombosis is a condition where blood clots form inside the blood vessels.

There are two types of this condition: arterial thrombosis and venous thrombosis.

Using Follistim puts you at risk of developing either or both types of conditions.

Intravascular thrombosis hinders blood flow to your vital organs, which can be fatal in severe cases.

People with risk factors such as family history or obesity are at a greater risk of experiencing symptoms related to thrombosis.

#3. It can cause Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

Given that Follistim contains FSH, it may cause you to develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

Severe forms of this condition are accompanied by jaundice and serum enzyme elevation.

This syndrome typically occurs within 4 to 14 days of ovarian stimulation with FSH, and in mild cases, it is characterized by abdominal pain.

If you feel any unusual abdominal pain that does not seem to go away while using Follistim, tell your doctor as soon as you can.

#4. It may induce a miscarriage

A miscarriage is an unplanned expulsion of a fetus from the uterus before it can survive independently.

A more scientific term for it is “spontaneous abortion.”

Hormones used in fertility treatments like FSH carry a considerable risk of causing miscarriages.

However, it is vital to note that there are many other risk factors for miscarriages.

As much as Follistim may be responsible for a miscarriage, there are many other causes that you may want to look into.

#5. It puts you at risk of ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself anywhere outside the uterus.

During a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants within the uterus, where all of its development occurs.

When it fails to attach itself to the uterus, it cannot survive.

If left to grow in any such place, it can cause damage to nearby organs and lead to potentially fatal blood loss.

Most women who seek fertility treatment also have tubal complications, which increases the risk of ectopic pregnancies.

#6. It can cause ovarian torsion

Ovarian torsion occurs when the ovary twists over the ligaments that support it, cutting off blood flow. Its main symptom is abdominal pain.

Sometimes the fallopian tube twists together with the ovary referred to as adnexal torsion.

Although it is not very common, ovarian torsion can occur during fertility treatment with FSH.

This occurrence can lead to ovary loss and, as such, should be attended to as soon as your doctor suspects it.

#7. It may cause thoracic endometriosis

Thoracic endometriosis is a rare condition characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue on or around the lungs.

Its main symptoms include chest pain, cough, and shortness of breath.

Women undergoing ovarian stimulation by reproductive hormones are at a high risk of developing this condition.

If you have a history of endometriosis, you should look out for the symptoms of this condition.

#8. It can cause multi-fetal gestation

This may not necessarily be one of the adverse Follistim side effects, but it can occur as a result of using FSH in ovarian stimulation.

Put simply, multi-fetal gestation occurs when there is more than one fetus in the uterus.

Anyone who wishes to use Follistim for fertility treatment should be aware of the possibility of carrying more than one fetus in the womb.

#9. It may lead to ovarian neoplasm

Ovarian neoplasm is a scientific way of referring to growths within the ovary.

These growths can either be malignant or benign.

They are common in women who have undergone controlled ovarian stimulation through drug regimens involving hormones like FSH.

#10. It increases the risk of congenital anomalies

There is a slight risk of the development of abnormalities in a fetus that was conceived via ovarian stimulation. These are anomalies that occur when the baby is in the uterus.

They include conditions like cleft lips or limb deficiencies.

Before you begin treatment with Follistim, you should be aware of the risk that your baby may develop pre-natal anomalies due to the FSH present in the drug.


Follistim is widely used as a fertility drug.

It has helped many people with ovulation complications conceive, and for that, it deserves a lot of credit.

However, we should also be aware of the little-known side effects that could come with using it.

Thankfully, this article lays out most, if not all, of the little-known but quite scary Follistim side effects.

If you are interested in using the drug, make sure you have them all in mind before you make your decision.

Don’t forget to ask your doctor about any other side effects that you may be susceptible to, taking into account your personal history and other predispositions.

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