Why Would You Take Clomid?
Clomid is an ovulatory stimulating drug used to help women who have problems with ovulation. It is the most commonly used fertility drug. Because Clomid can be prescribed by a gynecologist and doesn’t require a fertility specialist, it’s also the very first fertility treatment tried for most couples. Clomid can also be used as a treatment for male infertility.
Clomid is taken as a pill, unlike the stronger fertility drugs, which require injection. Which makes it much easier to take. Clomid is also very effective, stimulating ovulation 80% of the time. Clomid is also the first line drug used for ovulation induction in patients with PCOS and other ovulatory disorders. It has been used for patients with luteal phase defects.
When used to induce ovulation, Clomid is taken for approximately five days early in the menstrual cycle. This may be either days 3-7 or days 5-9. Some women who do ovulate also use clomid to induce a ‘stronger’ ovulation.
Most women begin with 50mg and this is increased if ovulation does not occur. Once ovulating, most pregnancies occur in the first 6 cycles of treatment. Clomid is said to be able to induce ovulation in as much as 85% of the women who use it, though only half of those will actually become pregnant. Most authorities agree that continuing for more than 6 ovulatory cycles is not likely to increase the chances of success.
What to Expect
The most common side effects of clomid are:
- hot flushes & blurred vision
- multiple births (most commonly twins. There is a 7% chance vs. 2% in the general population)
- minor GI symptoms
- visual symptoms
- ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS)
- breast discomfort
- weight gain
- stronger PMS symptoms
- allergies & rash
- cervical mucus changes
- tubal pregnancy
Problems that might arise and ways to troubleshoot
While side effects are usually physical or emotional discomforts experienced while taking a drug, a drug’s risks are what may occur beyond what you feel. With that said, here are the possible risks to clomid:
- Twin or multiple pregnancy: The risk of getting pregnant with twins or more may be the most well-known risks of clomiphene. Data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997–2005, shows 11.7% of pregnancies were twin pregnancies and 1.1% were triplets or quadruplets. To reduce the chances of having twins, your doctor should always start you on the lowest dose first, before trying higher doses.
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Usually mild with clomiphene treatment, but in rare cases, the severe form can occur. Without treatment, severe OHSS can be life threatening. If you experience nausea, severe abdominal or pelvic pain, sudden weight gain, or severe bloating, contact your doctor immediately.
- Irreversible vision disturbances: Extremely rare, only in those who continue treatment after vision disturbance began. In those who discontinued treatment, vision disturbance stopped after three days.
- Ovarian cysts: 15.4 percent of women will develop an ovarian cyst during treatment. The cyst is typically benign (not cancer), and it should go away on its own not long after the treatment cycle is over. If the cyst does not go away, the doctor should follow up and reevaluate. In rare cases, it may require surgical intervention.
- Ovarian cancer: Some studies have found an increased risk of ovarian cancer if clomiphene is taken for a year or longer. It’s unclear if this is caused by clomiphene for infertility itself.