Dangers and Side Effects of the HCG Diet


Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin is a pregnancy hormone meant for treatment of fertility problems. Nonetheless, it is used as prescription drug in weight-loss, owing to the claim that it is effective in enabling users to survive on fewer calories without the adverse effects of a starvation diet.

However, studies have shown that while it can cause short-term weight loss, HCG can lead to adverse health effects. It is for this reason that it has been subject to warnings from the FDA over the years. The following are some side effects of an HCG diet.

Side Effects of the HCG Diet


An HCG diet typically involves restricting ones’ calorie intake. Therefore, people on an HCG diet eat less than the body’s needs and this leads to fewer and far between bowel movements. Lack of oil and fat in the diet can also lead to harder bowels that are difficult to move along.

Constipation can lead to further ill side effects such as sharp pains, intense contractions, bloating, tiredness, and sickness from toxins reabsorbed back to the body.


This is a common side effect experienced during the early days of an HCG diet. Headaches are due to the fact that the body is undergoing metabolic and physiological changes. One cause of headaches is that an HCG diet restricts the body’s carbohydrates intake and instead makes it resort to using fat reserves.

Sudden lowering of calorie intake can also trigger headaches. The body is used to obtaining energy from normal food consumption. However, an HCG diet means your body will have to obtain energy from fat reserves; a much harder process. This disruption can leads to headaches.

Leg Cramps

Your body will receive limited or no potassium when you are on an HCG diet. Potassium is an essential mineral as it helps to drain fluids from cells. Lack of enough potassium in the body leads to leg cramps; painful and involuntary contractions of leg muscles.


This is another fairly common side effects HCG users experience. Eliminating foods rich in carbohydrates from your diet can interrupt blood sugar regulation. Irregular blood sugar levels lead to feelings of dizziness, confusion, and nausea. In some extreme cases, it can lead to loss of consciousness.

Back Pain

Studies have shown that individuals on an HCG diet are at a higher risk of developing kidney problems because of the limited calorie intake. Limited caloric intake can lead to damage of vital organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.

Back pain is one of the symptoms of kidney damage. Back pain can also arise from blood clots in the kidneys.

Other Side Effects

An HCG diet can also lead to early puberty, redness and/or swelling (from injections), and ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS may in turn lead to stomach pains, swelling and shortness of air.

It is worth noting that HCG can be taken in orally or through injections. Each method of administration may lead to slightly different side effects.

It is advisable to ask your doctor about HCG diet side effects and dangers before opting for it as a weight-loss plan.