Clomiphene citrate, also known as Clomid, is a medication taken by women who are trying to become pregnant; that is to say, Clomid is used for women facing fertility issues. Some of the issues with fertility include: irregular ovulation, unexplained infertility, or fertility problems associated with a male partner. Irregular ovulation means that a women has an irregular menstrual cycle, also known as irregular periods. Because a woman’s menstrual cycle is dependent on the release of hormones, an irregular cycle often means that there is an irregular release of hormones. This irregular release of hormones makes it difficult to become pregnant. Unexplained infertility is just that: the reason for a woman being unable to become pregnant is unknown. Structurally the woman’s reproductive organs are normal and intact; the couple is otherwise healthy and there are no issues with sperm production, motility, or other problems associated with the man’s sperm. The couple is simply unable to get pregnant. Finally, “male factor” fertility can make it difficult for a couple to become pregnant. Here, there maybe some issue with the sperm, such as quality, sperm quantity, or sperm shape. In this instance the physician make decide that intrauterine insemination is the best chance for the couple to become pregnant. In each of these instances, Clomid, is thought to help improve the chances of become pregnant. Clomid is thought to: help regulate irregular menses; increase the chance of becoming pregnant for couple experiencing unexplained infertility; and increase the chances of pregnancy through intrauterine insemination, meaning fewer insemination procedures may be required in order to become pregnant. Clomiphene citrate can be used for non-fertility reproductive problems as well. Specifically, Clomid can be used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is the growth of multiple cysts on the ovaries. This condition tends to be extremely painful and often results in irregular menses and fertility issues up to and including loss of fertility.
Clomid is an oral medication taken by women. It is non-steroidal, which means that it does not contain any steroids. It acts on the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in the brain, which is responsible for the release of hormones that result in the ovulation cycle, as well as the ovaries to increase the release of hormones associated with ovulation, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. Specifically, Clomiphene citrate stimulates the release of follicle-stimulating hormone, abbreviated FSH, and luteinizing hormone, abbreviated LH; FSH is responsible for egg follicle production and LH is responsible for ovulation. Both hormones play an important role in becoming pregnant.
Clomid is prescribed by a physician; this may be your primary care physician (PCP), an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), or by a fertility specialist. This medication comes in a 50mg pill and is taken in compliance with the prescribing physician’s instructions; some common instructions include taking between one and four pills once a day. It is common to start at the lowest dosage and work to a higher dosage in order to obtain efficacy, or the amount for the best possible outcomes. Clomid is taken for five days early during the woman’s menstrual cycle. For example, the physician may write for the medication start on the third day of the menstrual cycle and continue for five days. Clomid is often covered by health insurance companies. Depending on your insurance coverage, Clomid may be of low cost to you.
Side effects documented for Clomid are fairly rare and overall generally mild. These include: flushing (a warm, tingly sensation); breast pain or breast tenderness; headache; break through bleeding or spotting. It is possible to develop a very serious and life threatening side effect called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS. OHSS is when the ovaries begin to overstimulate. If you experience any of the following symptoms you must report them to your physician immediately: stomach pain or bloating; nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea; very fast weight gain that occurs especially in your face or belly area; decreased and/or the absence of the ability to urinate; pain with breathing, quick heart rate, and feelings of shortness of breath, especially when lying down. Additionally, if you are experience any of these additional symptoms, stop taking Clomid and call your physician: pain or pressure in your pelvis or swelling in your pelvis; changes in vision or problems with vision which could include flashes of light or seeing “floaters”; increased sensitivity to light; heavy vaginal bleeding.
You should call your physician for guidance if you miss a dose. Please talk to your physician if you have any of the following medical problems, as Clomid may be contraindicated (not a good choice) for you; these medical problems include: abnormal vaginal bleeding; a cyst on your ovary that is not related to a diagnosis of PCOS; past or current liver disease; a tumor on your pituitary gland; issues with your adrenal or thyroid gland that leads to unregulated hormone release. It is especially important that you do not take Clomid if you are already pregnant.