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Clomid: A Crash Course

I’ve written about my experience with Clomid before and expressed my reluctance to take it again.

But I’ve never talked about exactly what Clomid is and how it works.

So, in case you’ve ever wanted to know more about it, let me tell you what I have learned.

How does Clomid work?

Clomiphene Citrate, most often referred to as Clomid or Serophene, is an oral medication used to stimulate ovulation. It works by blocking estrogen receptors, tricking the body into thinking estrogen levels are low, which stimulates the brain into releasing two naturally-occurring hormones: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) which causes follicles in the ovaries to ripen, and luteinizing hormone (LH) which triggers the release of an egg(s).

Have I lost you yet? No? Good!

Why is Clomid prescribed?

Clomid can help women who are trying to conceive but have struggled with:

  • Irregular ovulation:  When a woman struggles with irregular periods, it can be difficult to know when to expect ovulation. Clomid can help make ovulation more predictable, which allows for properly timed intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI).
  • Male factor fertility problems: When a problem with semen quality is present, IUIs can help to increase the likelihood that the sperm reaches the egg. Clomid helps to perfectly time those IUIs.
  • Unexplained infertility: Clomid can help healthy couples who have been evaluated with no clear diagnosis of what is causing their infertility by helping the sperm and the egg to meet up where they should.

How is Clomid prescribed?

On the first day of your cycle, you’ll call your doctor to schedule a pelvic exam and to finalize the timing of your Clomid cycle. A typical dosage is 1 to 3 tablets a day for 5 days early in your cycle (either on cycle days 3-7, or 4-8).

Ovulation typically occurs 7-8 days following completion of the Clomid. Because your ovaries are stimulated, you could experience some bloating or discomfort with intercourse.

Your doctor will need to verify ovulation, which can be done a few different ways, including basal body temperature testing, ovulation predictor kit testing, an office ultrasound, and/or blood tests. At your visit, your doctor will tell you when to expect ovulation in that cycle, when to time your intercourse or IUI, and if/when you will need a follicle scan or ultrasound to confirm that you ovulated.

How will it make you feel?

While taking Clomid, you may experience hot flashes, suffer from moodiness, or experience changes in your sleep pattern. Some lucky women experience no symptoms at all.

What are the risks associated with taking Clomid?

  • Though rare, Clomid can cause hyperstimulation of the ovaries.
  • The chance of multiples is slightly higher in women who take Clomid, at 6-8%.
  • Some of the truly rare side effects of Clomid include vision changes, hair thinning, hives, and dizziness.

When I took Clomid before, I was a sweaty angry mess. So, if I’m cranky over the next few months, I am totally blaming the Clomid.

Have you ever taken Clomid before? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

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