Clomid and Infertility: What You Need to Know

Clomid, or clomiphene citrate, is an oral medication used to treat female infertility.

 

Clomid is a nonsteroidal ovulatory stimulant regulating ovulatory dysfunction and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The medication promotes ovulation—the production and release of eggs—in women who would otherwise struggle with it. Because Clomid is used to jumpstart the ovulation cycle, it can also be prescribed for menstrual abnormalities.

Join our newsletter

How Does Clomid Work?

Clomid makes the female body believe that its estrogen levels are lower than they are. The pituitary gland then increases the secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones then stimulate the production of egg follicles and the process of ovulation, respectively.

Clomid Benefits

 

The nice thing about Clomid is that it is often covered by many health insurance providers, while other fertility treatments may not. It’s also much more cost-effective than prolonged and invasive treatments like IVF, which can end up costing $20,000 or more per cycle.

Clomid has been shown to improve fertility quite effectively. While it does come with certain low-risk side effects, most are quite rare. Clomid is overwhelmingly safe to use and has not caused severe or long-lasting issues for women or their pregnancies.

If you want to try Clomid, it should be done with supervision from your OB/GYN. Unlike other fertility treatments, Clomid can be prescribed directly by OB/GYNs and does not require a fertility specialist’s approval. This makes it much more accessible and affordable for those who wish to get pregnant.

 

Clomid Drawbacks

 

Like any medication, Clomid has a few potential side effects, ranging from mildly unpleasant to severe and potentially dangerous.

Common side effects may include:

  • Abnormal vaginal/uterine bleeding
  • Tenderness or discomfort of the breasts
  • Abdominal or pelvic swelling, tenderness, pressure, or mild pain caused by ovarian enlargement
  • Mood swings
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Flushing, redness, or hot flashes
  • Diarrhea

 

Taking Clomid can also increase a woman’s likelihood of multiple births—that is, becoming pregnant with more than one embryo at once, with twins, triplets, and so on.

However, more severe side effects can occur. If you experience any of the following, you should seek medical attention:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

We also previously mentioned ovarian enlargement, which can sometimes present as a more common symptom of taking Clomid. However, there is also a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) that can require medical attention, and ovarian enlargement is one of the symptoms. If you experience the abdominal/pelvic pain associated with enlargement in tandem with other symptoms like severe GI issues, shortness of breath, decreased urination, and pleural effusions, you should absolutely seek medical care right away.

 

Clomid Success Rates

 

According to research, Clomid stimulates ovulation in approximately 80% of women who take it. However, ovulation is not a guarantee that pregnancy will occur. The 20% of women who are unable to ovulate even with the treatment are often called ‘Clomid resistant’ and may need alternative forms of fertility treatment.

Overall, about 30% of women who take Clomid will become pregnant within six cycles of use. However, Clomid is not a long-term fertility treatment, as extended periods of use can lead to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Additional Information

 

It’s also important to note that there are many reasons a woman may experience infertility. This can include hormonal imbalances, clotting disorders, lifestyle factors, and autoimmune disorders—and while this is far from a comprehensive list, it should be noted that not all infertility issues can be addressed with Clomid. This medication is only intended to help women experiencing fertility due to issues with ovulation. For female infertility caused by other factors, Clomid may not be suitable for you.

Typically, women who wish to be treated with Clomid, along with their sperm donor/partner, will have to undergo a rigorous series of tests to ensure that the drug is right for them.

Clomid comes in a tablet, and it’s often recommended that you start it on the fifth day of your menstrual cycle and take the pill at the same time every day. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter, and speak up if you have any concerns.