Dealing with infertility can be really confusing, with so many options to consider. But you’re not alone on this journey. Many people face the same challenges when starting or expanding their family.
We'll break down the when and why of considering Clomid as a potential solution on your path to parenthood. And we hope to make your infertility experience a bit less overwhelming.
Understanding infertility and its challenges
Let's begin by explaining what infertility means. According to the CDC, infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex. And it can be a really frustrating time for those who want to add a little one to their family.
Many factors are to blame for infertility, including problems with your uterus, lifestyle factors like smoking, or sperm issues. Today, we’re focusing on when your body doesn't release eggs as it should.
Ovulation, or when your body releases an egg, is necessary for conceiving a baby. And your brain and ovaries communicate through hormones. However, for some bodies, ovulation can be a challenge. The good news is there are options to help with this.
Clomid as a fertility solution
CLOMID® (clomiPHENE citrate) is one of the most prescribed female infertility treatments used to boost ovulation. Typically, Clomid is one of the first solutions your doctor will try if you’re not ovulating or if you're experiencing irregular periods.
“It’s a safe oral medication, relatively inexpensive, and has great success in treating infertility caused by ovulatory dysfunction,” says Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist Jessica Ann Ryniec, M.D.
Because it helps with egg release, providers also use Clomid to produce more than one egg in a cycle for women going through the intrauterine insemination (IUI) process.
How does Clomid work?
Labcorp OnDemand Women’s Fertility Package (Ovarian Reserve Test)
Simply put, Clomid is used to help you ovulate. It blocks estrogen in the brain, a hormone made by your ovaries, explains Ryniec, “which essentially tricks the brain into thinking estrogen is not being made, so that the brain pushes out more signals to the ovaries to release an egg,” she says.
According to myclomid.com, the medication disrupts your brain's ability to sense estrogen levels and triggers increased production of mature eggs ready to be fertilized.
“If someone already ovulates, Clomid may be used for "superovulation" to push the ovaries to release more than one egg,” says Ryniec.
When to consider Clomid
There are several factors your doctor may consider before prescribing Clomid. If you and your partner have been trying for a year without success, you have irregular or absent periods, or you have conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Clomid could work for you.
When you start the infertility process, you can expect to go through a lot of appointments and necessary testing. Your doctor’s job is to determine what’s happening and to develop a plan that works for your family.
Since you need a prescription for Clomid, don't rush to the pharmacy just yet. Talk to an OB/GYN first. They'll decide if taking Clomid is the right move for you, and there are a lot of factors to consider.
Ryniec considers her patient’s preferences for their care. “I take into account the fertility testing results, prior history, a patient or couple's age, and overall family-building goals when discussing any treatment options.”
Clomid safety dos and don'ts
When taking Clomid or any prescribed medication, follow your doctor's instructions closely. Clomid is taken orally, and once ovulation is established, each course should start on or about the 5th day of your cycle.
In addition to prescribing Clomid to help with ovulation, your doctor may recommend other strategies like timing your intercourse, monitoring your cervical mucus, tracking your basal body temperature, or using at-home ovulation tests.
Clomid can have side effects, most commonly, hot flashes, bloating or upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, breast tenderness, mood swings and irritability, and headaches or dizziness.
Additionally, the medication has more severe side effects that are relatively rare, advises Ryniec. Some are visual changes, severe abdominal or pelvic pain, or ovarian hyperstimulation.
If you experience or are concerned about any side effects while using Clomid, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Your patience is put to the test when dealing with infertility, so make sure you’re taking good care of yourself, too. Continue your daily routines, try to manage your stress levels, and do activities you enjoy. After taking Clomid, give it time to work. And try not to lose hope if it doesn’t work for you.
For many, infertility is a journey into the unknown, and it can be tough to deal with emotionally. Lean on your partner or friends, or consider getting involved in an online community like ours at Rescripted so you can connect with others going through the same thing.
Remember, there’s no shame in seeking help. If you think Clomid is right for you, consult with your doctor.
For important safety information, visit myClomid.com.
Blair Sharp is a freelance writer who lives in Minnesota with her husband and son. Her words have been published in various publications, including Parents, SheKnows, The Bump, and Insider. Find her writing daily on LinkedIn and check out her weekly newsletter, The Relatable Creator, for motivation to show up and stand out online. Head to her website www.blairsharp.com for more.