What is HCG?
HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced in the placenta during pregnancy. This hormone helps the human body to stop menstruating and helps the uterine lining to hold up a growing embryo.
The confirmation of pregnancy can be determined by the HCG test conducted either quantitative or qualitative test. HCG levels rise after conceiving and continue about 9-10 weeks in pregnancy.
HCG acts like a Luteinizing Hormone (LH) produced in the pituitary gland for both men and women. Luteinizing Hormone stimulates the Leydig Cells (the primary source of testosterone) in men and stimulates the ovulation process in women.
Purpose of HCG injections
In men, low testosterone secretion results in low sperm count. And in women, low or no matured eggs develop properly, or the egg count is minimum, resulting in low chances of pregnancy. In such cases, the HCG injection is needed.
To cure such problems in men and women, the HCG injection with other fertility drugs plays a crucial role in fertilisation and increases testosterone secretion.
HCG cures Cryptorchidism, a problem in one or both of the testicles of a baby boy that are not descended to its actual place scrotum. This condition is observed chiefly in baby boys born prematurely.
Injecting HCG increases women’s pregnancy chances. This hormone helps to maintain progesterone levels, which is vital for pregnancy.
HCG injections help to release the matured eggs from the ovary (ovulation) for Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) or egg retrieval.
Nearly 26 per cent of working men in India suffer from male hypogonadism (insufficient production of testosterone hormone during puberty, which is required for masculine growth and development).
NCBI states that male hypogonadism can be cured with an alternative HCG injection for TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) preserves the fertility in men during the treatment process.
HCG also restores spermatogenesis in men who suffer from steroid-induced impairment of spermatogenesis.
Preparation of the HCG injection
HCG injection can be done subcutaneously and intramuscularly, with the medical provider’s guidance. On account of SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology), the preparation of HCG injection is listed here.
All diluents are used with a needle of 18-gauge or 1.2 mm (millimetre) 1 and 1/2” needle and a 1-ml (millilitre) syringe for mixing. After the mixture is prepared, replace it with the original needle, 0.42 mm (millimetre)/25 gauge for injecting.
- Each HCG comes with a 10-ml of sterile water and a lyophilized powder (water is removed from a substance after it is frozen) in separate bottles.
- HCG powder and sterile water must be mixed with the syringe 1.2 mm 1 and 1/2” needle.
- In that mixture, 1 ml of water is enough to mix with the lyophilized (freeze-dry) powder.
- Discard the remaining sterile water.
- Mix the lyophilized powder and sterile water gently.
- After the mixing is done, replace the needle with the original one (25 gauge 1 and 1/2” needle).
- After the first dose, refrigerate the HCG mixture that you prepared.
When the HCG is in powder form, that can be placed at room temperature. Once the sterile water is mixed with the HCG powder, it must be refrigerated because of its sustainable stability.
The reconstituted HCG can be used within 60-90 days. If the medical practitioner advises you to take the second dose of HCG injection, then the preparation of it is done as per their prescription.
Best places to inject HCG injection
HCG can be injected by yourself with your doctor’s directions. Your doctor will give the first dose, and the other following doses will be done by yourself. Here are the best places to inject the HCG injection for better results.
Subcutaneous sites are seen beneath the skin and above the muscles of your body. It is good to know that this process is painless as the HCG injection is injected into the fat beneath your skin.
The lower abdomen is the best area where more subcutaneous fat is located. HCG can be injected in the semi-circle area an inch below the belly button and above the pubic region.
Front or outer thigh
The front or outer thigh is another area the doctor prescribes to get the HCG shot. The front thigh has more subcutaneous fat, so it is painless when HCG is injected.
The HCG can be injected with the help of your family or friend that you trust. This area also has a good subcutaneous fat unless you are a contortionist.
Apart from subcutaneous fat, the intermuscular site is another site to inject HCG. Injecting HCG in the intermuscular sites will cause a little pain when injected. It is the process of injecting HCG directly into the muscles.
The muscles seen in your shoulder are called the deltoid muscle. This part is safe to do the intermuscular injection. This is also done by someone you trust in the injecting process, as you can’t reach it on your own.
Upper outer Buttocks
The human buttocks have two parts, dorsogluteal and ventrogluteal. The dorsogluteal part of the hip is a large muscle in the buttocks. The muscles and subcutaneous fat in the dorsogluteal part are more than the upper outer buttocks, that is, the ventrogluteal region.
Both males and females have a significant thickness of muscles in the dorsogluteal region. Still, it varies in the ventrogluteal region as females have more muscle thickness in the hip area than males.
As the dorsogluteal muscle is close to major blood vessels and sciatic nerves, it is not advised to inject in that region. So, it is recommended to inject HCG in the ventrogluteal area, which has low proximity to blood vessels and sciatic nerves.
Disposal of HCG needles
A sharps bin is a disposal bin specially manufactured for disposing of needles or sharps. You are requested to dispose the needle in a sharps bin or puncture-proof bin as soon as you use it.
The bin prevents others from getting punctured, pricked or cut. These sharp bins are kept away from children and pets. You are advised to dispose of the medical waste in the bin when filled three-forth.
After getting an HCG shot, people will experience some side effects.
Side Effects of HCG injection
Overdose of HCG can place you at risk of a blood clot in your head. As soon as you experience a headache, it is highly recommended to call your doctor. It is advised not to take an excessive dose of HCG without a doctor’s prescription.
After getting the HCG shot, a few people will feel dizziness and restlessness. Usually, doctors will ask the patients to take three to four hours of rest after injecting HCG.
No person should do their daily course as soon as the HCG is injected. Doing their daily course will cause them to get tired very soon as the person needs a few hours of rest after the HCG injection.
Pain at Injected Sites
Pain can be experienced when the HCG is injected in the intermuscular sites, whereas the HCG injected in the subcutaneous sites are painless.
HCG injection is common in fertility treatments like in vitro fertilisation (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), etc. It may be challenging at first, but giving yourself a shot becomes no big deal and will be an easy process for you.
How long after injection does HCG start working?
A matured egg is released from an ovary within thirty-six to forty-two hours after injecting HCG hormone. The HCG hormone is injected as the ovarian follicles show the desired diameter.
Should we take a rest after the HCG injection?
As it is a painless process, 5-7 hours of rest is enough to take after getting an HCG shot. After rest, you can do your daily course.
How successful is HCG injection?
The pregnancy rate after intrauterine insemination (artificial insemination) is performed for infertility. After this treatment, when HCG is injected, the pregnancy rate increases from 10.9 to 19.6%.
How do you feel about HCG injections?
After getting the HCG shot, some common symptoms of both males and females are headache, tiredness and irritation, water weight gain, depression, swelling of breasts, pain, irritation or swelling in the injected area.
When injected, a specific symptom of HCG, is that growth of male breasts is observed in most male patients, whereas severe pelvic pain and bloating in most female patients.