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Clomid – the ovulation wonder drug?

conceptionEvery now and then, one of my fertility clients will ask me about Clomid and whether they should take it. Usually they have heard of women having twins after taking the drug so they wonder if it’s the thing they need to boost their own fertility.

Clomid or Serophene (Clomiphene citrate) is a prescription medication used to induce ovulation.  It is usually taken daily for about 5 to 6 days in the early part of the menstrual cycle.

It’s anti-oestrogen

The most interesting thing about Clomid is that it is a synthetic hormone that has an anti-oestrogen effect on the body. By halting oestrogen production, it then tricks the pituitary gland in the brain to make more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This higher level of FSH then stimulates the development of several ovarian follicles so that you increase the number of eggs available for fertilisation.

So, the main issue with Clomid, is the fact that it is anti-oestrogen. Oestrogen is needed to produce fertile mucus and to thicken the lining of the uterus to nourish a potential pregnancy.  And that’s the thing – an absence of fertile mucus and a thin uterine lining can affect your chances of falling pregnant.

The stats

Clomid has a pregnancy success rate of 5-10% per cycle. Most women are advised to use it for 6 months which provides a 35-40% chance of pregnancy over that period.

The risks

Approximately, 10% of women who use Clomid will have a multiple birth. Some people dream about having twins or triplets but they do come with pregnancy and birthing complications, so in the medical world they are considered a risk.

Clomid also increases the risk of ovarian cysts – most cases the cysts will go away on their own although in a minority of cases they may cause internal bleeding or twist requiring surgery.

There is some research linking the use of Clomid for 12 months or longer to an increase in ovarian cancer.

There is an increase in miscarriage for pregnancies conceived with Clomid, with possible theories being that it can force the development of an egg that has chromosome abnormalities or the thin uterine lining caused by low oestrogen can make it less nourishing for a growing embryo.

The side effects

Many women report side effects associated with low oestrogen such as:

  • vaginal dryness
  • hot flushes
  • no fertile mucus or a thickening of it
  • mood swings & irritability
  • bloating
  • dizziness
  • skin rashes
  • blurry vision
  • breast tenderness

My take on Clomid

My view is because of it’s anti-oestrogen effects as well as the risks and side effects listed above, that the use of Clomid should not be taken lightly. In most cases, we can boost the ovulation process naturally.

However, it can be a wonder drug for women who do not ovulate and are non-responsive to natural treatment. In these cases, I can provide natural support for oestrogen production once the course of Clomid has finished.