Many couples that have difficulty conceiving through natural methods choose to undergo various fertility treatments to increase their chances of becoming pregnant. One of the most popular medications used to heighten fertility is Clomid. Used for over 30 years to help induce and regulate ovulation, Clomid is often highly successful at producing a pregnancy. If you and your partner are experiencing troubles conceiving, you may want to ask your fertility specialist about this medication.
What is Clomid?
Clomid is a fertility medication that is used to induce ovulation. Known as clomiphene citrate, the drug is sold under the brand names Clomid and Serophene, and is available throughout the United Kingdom. Specifically, Clomid works to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to mature an increased number of follicles every month. Because Clomid increases the number of mature follicles in the ovaries, the drug also increases the likelihood of ovulation and pregnancy.
How Does Clomid Work?
Clomid works by acting on a number of different receptors in the body that regulate hormone production and release. In particular, Clomid works to increase the amount of three hormones involved in the ovulation process, including:
- gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
- luteinizing hormone (LH)
- follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
Clomid essentially tricks the body into believing that it has lowered levels of estrogen. As a result, the brain begins to secrete increased levels of GnRH, which, in turn, stimulates the release of FSH and LH. These hormones then trigger the ovaries to begin to mature more follicles.
What is Clomid Prescribed For?
Clomid is generally prescribed for couples facing female infertility, including:
- irregular menstruation
Clomid is also used to increase the number of follicles available for IVF treatment procedures.
Clomid is taken orally on specific days of your menstrual cycle. Depending upon your fertility clinic, you may be asked to take Clomid on Days 3-7 of your cycle, or Days 5-9 of your cycle. Dosages usually begin at 50 mg. Most women continue on this dosage for a cycle or two. If there is no improvement in ovulation, the dosage can be increased to a maximum of 200 mg per day.
Clomid is normally taken for a maximum of six cycles, after which use will be discontinued if it proves ineffective and another type of infertility treatment will be recommended. Occasionally, Clomid will be combined with additional hormonal medications.
Potential Clomid Side Effects
Generally, Clomid side effects are mild and not particularly troublesome.
However, at higher doses you may experience:
- mood swings
- nausea and vomiting
- breast tenderness
30% of women using Clomid also experience changes in their cervical mucous. Cervical mucous can then become hostile to sperm, making conception difficult.
Potential Complications of Clomid
The main risk associated with Clomid use is the potential for developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). OHSS can occur with the use of any type of ovulation stimulating drug.
It happens when cysts begin to form on the ovaries, causing them to swell to a very large size. Typically, OHSS disappears without treatment but, without proper monitoring, the syndrome can become dangerous.
Potential complications include:
- kidney problems
- liver problems
- fluid collection in the lungs and stomach
- twisting of the ovaries
It is essential that your fertility specialist monitor you for signs of OHSS while you are taking Clomid.
Clomid Success Rates
Clomid is generally a very effective drug for most women suffering from ovulatory dysfunction. In fact, between 70% and 90% of women taking Clomid begin to ovulate within the first three cycles.
Additionally, 40% of couples become pregnant during the first three cycles. It is important to be aware that there is a 5% to 10% chance of multiple pregnancy (especially twin pregnancy) when taking Clomid.
Speak to your fertility specialist if you are concerned about multiple pregnancy.