Clomid is the brand name for clomiphene citrate, a fertility drug that may increase your chances of pregnancy. If your doctor has recently prescribed this medication, you probably have many questions. To ease your concerns and improve your understanding of this drug, we’ve put together this guide on Clomid FAQs. In it, you’ll learn everything from Clomid side effects to tips for getting pregnant on Clomid.
Clomid is a fertility drug prescribed to women, trans men, and other people with ovaries suffering from infertility. It helps to increase the hormones stimulating ovulation — when your ovaries release an egg, and the fallopian tubes pick it up. This should hopefully increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Clomid works by setting off a chain reaction to produce hormones in your body. When you take Clomid, it travels to the receptors in your brain that bind with estrogen. This makes your body think your estrogen levels are too low, and to compensate, it produces more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
FSH can boost estrogen, but more importantly, it’s also responsible for stimulating your ovarian follicles. Your ovarian follicles hold your immature eggs, so when the follicles are stimulated, they can grow the eggs into mature ones ready for fertilization.
Typically, doctors will think about prescribing Clomid when you’ve been unable to conceive after a year of trying — and potentially as short as six months if you’re older than 35. If you have been evaluated and given a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility,” Clomid is a good first step as it’s non-invasive and relatively affordable. If this is the case, your treatment will often include insemination.
That said, there are some times when Clomid could be prescribed earlier. Clomid can also help conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or an irregular menstrual cycle that prevents naturally occurring ovulation. Letrozole is an alternative medication that can be used in this setting.
Clomid is not prescribed for women who have gone through menopause and no longer have viable eggs.
Your doctor will likely instruct you to take Clomid at the beginning of your menstrual cycle, typically between days 3 and 5. You’ll then take one pill a day for five days. Then, you’ll live your life as normal until your next cycle is about to begin. If you’re still not pregnant, your doctor may recommend another course of Clomid. Generally, your doctor won’t recommend more than six courses of Clomid, as if it hasn’t worked by then, there is likely another fertility issue at play.
Clomid can have a few side effects, including:
More severe side effects of Clomid can include abnormal vaginal bleeding, mood changes, and vision changes. Talk to your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing any of these.
One risk of taking Clomid is the increased chance of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS causes fluid to build up in the heart, chest, and stomach, which could necessitate the need for additional treatments. However, this only occurs in 0.5% of all people taking Clomid.
There are a few things to avoid while taking Clomid. Because it can cause dizziness or vision changes, you’ll want to avoid alcohol and marijuana, as these can exacerbate the symptoms. You’ll also want to avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Clomid affects you.
You’ll know Clomid is working if you have your period 27-30 days after taking the drug. However, to know for sure, your doctor may recommend blood work to measure your hormone levels. They may also recommend taking your temperature each morning to see if you can track when ovulation occurs.
A few tips for getting pregnant on Clomid are to have sex when you’re the most fertile and live a healthy lifestyle. You can take your temperature daily or get an ovulation prediction test kit to track your fertility. If you’re using a test kit, you’ll want to have unprotected sex within 24 hours of seeing a spike of luteinizing hormone – the main hormone that controls ovulation.
Living a healthy lifestyle means giving up excessive alcohol and recreational drugs, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated. Also, keep your stress levels low with mindfulness practices.
About 60 to 85% of people who take Clomid can ovulate normally again. Overall, you have about a 4 to 12% chance of getting pregnant each menstrual cycle while on Clomid. Here’s what the cumulative Clomid success rate by age looks like over the full course of treatment (where success is defined as pregnancy and assuming that your primary reason for infertility is anovulation).
Remember that taking Clomid also increases your chances of having multiple babies at once. You might have a 5-8% chance for twins and a <1% chance for triplets.
If you have more questions about Clomid, ORM Fertility is here to help. Our fertility center is a world-class facility staffed with medical professionals passionate about helping you grow your family. We’d be happy to answer your Clomid questions — and perform a comprehensive fertility evaluation to see what your best fertility treatment options might be.
Connect with us today to learn more about our services or ask Clomid questions.