Infertility can stem from any number of causes, including things like endometriosis, ovulation problems, sperm-related issues, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Luckily, there are many treatment paths available for your unique fertility journey.
Clomid, or clomiphene citrate, is an oral medication often used to treat infertility. Let's look closer at Clomid, the treatment process, and whether it's right for you.
Clomid stimulates ovulation by promoting follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion. FSH then stimulates the growth of egg follicles, which are fluid sacs in your ovaries with eggs in them. Assuming you naturally ovulate (which isn't always the case), you only ovulate one egg. The purpose of the Clomid is to get more than one follicle to grow. The whole goal of being on Clomid is to get 2-3 eggs to be released that month instead of just the one that is ordinarily ovulated. If you don't ovulate at all, clomid can help make you ovulate, which gives you a chance of getting pregnant that month. Clomid also leads to increased estrogen levels, which increases luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, stimulating egg release (ovulation). Clomid may also be given for a Clomid challenge test, which can diagnose age-related infertility, though this is not done as often as it was in the past.
Clomid is typically used in an intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle but is also sometimes part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. There's some evidence that Clomid may also promote sperm and testosterone production, so it could be used to treat male infertility in some cases. Clomid success rates vary from person to person, depending on the root cause of infertility.
The Process and Protocol
Seeing a fertility specialist can help you get to the bottom of what's causing your infertility. They'll discuss your medical history and perform any diagnostic testing that may be needed so they can devise a custom treatment plan.
A Clomid treatment plan may vary, depending on whether your menstrual cycles are regular or not. But typically, Clomid is taken for several days in a row, starting during your menstrual cycle. You may need to do several rounds of Clomid. However, if you still aren't getting pregnant after several cycles of taking Clomid, you may need to pursue additional treatment.
While you're taking Clomid, your fertility specialist may conduct ultrasounds to check on your follicle growth and development. They may also do blood tests to check your hormone levels to show whether the Clomid works. The tests also help determine the best time to have intercourse or undergo IUI. Ovulation usually happens around two weeks before your next menstrual cycle, so this may be when intercourse or IUI is recommended.
Potential Side Effects and Risks
Like any medication, Clomid can cause side effects. You may experience mood swings, hot flashes, discomfort around your ovaries, breast tenderness, headaches, or spotting. There's also an increased risk of multiple births with Clomid.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is another possible risk of taking Clomid, though this is actually quite rare when taking it orally. OHSS is when the ovaries become overstimulated from fertility medications, and they become swollen and painful. And you may experience symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting with OHSS. This condition, again, is rare with Clomid and usually lasts for less than a week.
Maximizing Success with Clomid
Clomid can help stimulate ovulation and increase the chances of pregnancy. Lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet and exercising, can help boost fertility. Avoiding smoking, minimizing alcohol use, and getting plenty of antioxidants and vitamin D can also be helpful for male infertility.
Whatever your situation, seeing a fertility specialist is essential to ensure you have the best possible chances of getting pregnant.
There is Hope for Those Dealing with Infertility
Clomid is one of many effective treatments for infertility. If you're struggling to get pregnant, don't hesitate to reach out to our professional, compassionate team of fertility specialists at Advanced Fertility Care. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule a consultation.