If you're just starting out with treatment for your infertility, it's very likely that your health care provider will suggest that you try Clomid. The thought of taking medication for your infertility can be really scary, especially if you don't know all of the facts about the medication. Here are a few tips to help you feel more comfortable.
First, some background. Clomid (generic name clomiphene citrate) is a medication taken orally that is designed to help with ovulation. Unlike injectable medication, Clomid works on your brain, tricking it into thinking that you don't have enough estrogen in your system. This causes more estrogen to be produced, which should help your ovulatory process. As far as infertility medication goes, Clomid is relatively inexpensive, costing approximately $60 per month for brand name and less for generic; the generic medication is perfectly fine to use. Clomid is given at the beginning of your cycle, usually for 5 days in a row. I took it starting on day 3 of my cycle, but other physicians will use day 1 or 2 starts, with plenty of success.
As with all medication, there are times when Clomid is more warranted than others. So, here are some things to think about before you commit to taking Clomid:
Are you ovulating? Before you take medication, you might consider studying your ovulatory pattern. You could accomplish this through the use of ovulation predictor kits or basal body temperature monitoring. Or, for a more high-tech approach, your doctor could check your hormone levels via some blood tests. If you are already ovulating well and have an adequate luteal phase, Clomid may not give you much assistance.
Have you ruled out fallopian tube blockages or adhesions? All of the ovulating in the world won't help if your fallopian tubes are purposely blocked, or if your tubes are bound up in abdominal adhesions. If you have primary infertility, if you've delivered a child via c-section, if you have a history of endometriosis, or if you have experienced prior abdominal surgery or injury you might consider checking for these factors via HSG before you resort to medication.
Has your partner been tested for semen abnormalities? Much like tubal issues, Clomid won't help if your partner has any male factor issues. If your partner isn't producing sperm in adequate numbers, and with appropriate morphology and motility, Clomid isn't the best choice.
If you do decide to try Clomid, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, most experts recommend that you do not take Clomid for more than 6 cycles. If the medication doesn't work within that time frame, it's unlikely to work. In addition, some studies have shown that Clomid may lead to an increased risk for ovarian cancer. For those reasons, it's important to use Clomid only when you think it has a legitimate chance of improving your odds of conceiving, within that 6 month period.
Second, remember that Clomid can be used at doses ranging from 50mg to 150mg. If a lower dose doesn't work, ask your health care provider about trying a higher dose.
Finally, if people know that you're on Clomid, it's likely that they'll tease you about having triplets. In reality, the risk of having multiples while on Clomid isn't much higher than on non-medicated cycles. Just because you're taking medication doesn't mean you need to start investigating a triple stroller!
Taking steps to resolve your infertility can be scary, but researching your options and being an informed patient can make any situation seem less intimidating. Good luck with your efforts!
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