Also known as Clomiphene Citrate, Clomid is one of the most widely used fertility medications and is predominately used to help women experiencing irregular ovulation.
We take an in-depth look into Clomid to answer the question – what is it and how do you take it?
What is Clomid?
Clomiphene is an oral medication that is used to induce ovulation in women who are unable to produce an egg each month. It is most often prescribed for women experiencing infertility issues due to irregular menstruation or anovulation, which is where there is a lack or absence of ovulation. Clomid can also be used to help treat women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which sees ovulation interrupted due to a build-up of small cysts on the ovaries.
However, there are some ovulation related conditions that won’t respond to the medication, including early menopause and primary ovarian insufficiency.
How does it work?
Clomid stimulates an increase in hormones by making a woman’s body think its oestrogen levels are lower than they actually are. As a result, the pituitary gland increases the level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which in turn stimulate the ovaries to produce and release a mature egg.
The typical dosage of Clomid prescribed is between 50-150mg per day in pill form and must be taken exactly as prescribed by your fertility doctor.
It should be taken at the beginning of a woman’s period for five full days in a row, starting at around day three, four or five of the menstrual cycle. Treatment normally starts with a lower dose and can be increased under careful monitoring, depending on how a patient responds to the treatment. And it is important to follow the dosing schedule exactly for treatment to be effective.
During each monthly treatment, ultrasound scans, combined with blood and urine tests, will also be carried out to monitor response and to identify ovulation. Ultrasound can also be used to detect if there has been any over-stimulation as well as help doctors determine when sexual intercourse or intrauterine insemination should begin.
Benefits of Clomid
For women identified as the right candidates for Clomid, there are several benefits to undertaking this treatment:
- As it is an oral treatment is it less invasive than other infertility procedures
- It is a cost-effective form of fertility treatment, when compared to treatments such as VF
- Clomid is generally well tolerated and has relatively few risks
However, as with any medical treatment, Clomid does come with some potential side-effects although they are generally mild and can include hot flushes, headaches, mood changes, nausea and breast tenderness. The medication can also thicken the consistency of your cervical mucus.
And, while there is no increased risk of miscarriage or birth defects after using Clomid, there is a slightly higher risk of multiple pregnancies.
If Clomid doesn’t work
If Clomid has not worked after six cycles and you have not fallen pregnant, your doctor may be reluctant to carry on with the treatment. And Clomid should not be taken consistently for any longer than 12 months. In these cases, other form of fertility treatments or further diagnostic investigations may be recommended to help you on your journey to parenthood.