What is Clomiphene?
Clomiphene is a drug prescribed to women who are diagnosed with infertility due to irregular ovulation. It is usually given in the form of an oral tablet.
How does Clomiphene help in Ovulation?
Clomiphene helps induce ovulation- a naturally occurring process by which the ovaries produce and release eggs every month in a female of reproductive age (13- 49).
Ovulation is induced by the hormone estrogen by increasing the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Women who have low levels of estrogen can benefit from clomiphene (which contains a hormone similar to estrogen) to induce ovulation.
Clomiphene acts on the pituitary glands and ovaries to increase the levels of FSH and LH, which help in the production and release of eggs into the fallopian tube. This improves your chances of conceiving.
What are the Indications for Clomiphene?
Clomiphene is prescribed to women who are unable to conceive naturally as a result of irregular ovulation cycles. It can help women with ovarian disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS become pregnant.
However, women with conditions such as hypothalamic amenorrhea, low body weight, and early menopause may need other intensive infertility treatments as clomiphene alone may not be entirely effective.
How is Clomiphene administered?
The first day of bleeding is called day 1 of the menstrual cycle. Clomiphene is usually started on day 3, 4, or 5 of the menstrual cycle at a dose of 50 mg (one pill) once daily for five days. It is advisable to take it around the same time every day.
Following treatment, ovulation usually takes place between day 14 and 19 of your menstrual cycle. Intercourse should be planned around that time. Generally, regular intercourse once every other day is recommended from day 10 of your menstrual cycle. If ovulation does not take place, the dose is increased in the subsequent cycle. Most women get pregnant within six months.
Your doctor will provide you with additional instructions based on your health condition.
What do You do if You Miss a Dose?
You should take the missed dose as soon as you can. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, avoid taking a double dose and call your doctor to inform them.
How can Clomiphene be made More Effective?
The chances of conception may increase if you maintain a healthy weight along with taking clomiphene. Your doctor may also recommend drugs such as metformin and letrozole if clomiphene alone is not helping you ovulate and get pregnant. Clomiphene use is not extended beyond six menstrual cycles if pregnancy does not take place.
What to do if You are Unable to Conceive despite Clomiphene-induced Ovulatory Cycles?
Clomiphene is usually effective in inducing ovulation. But if you are still unable to get pregnant despite ovulating normally during the course of your clomiphene therapy, then there may be other causes of infertility such as endometriosis, pelvic adhesions or male-related infertility. Your doctor may recommend other treatments such as injectable gonadotropins, surgery and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to assist in pregnancy.
What are the Side Effects of Clomiphene?
Clomiphene therapy may be associated with certain unwanted side effects such as:
- Abdominal discomfort- pain and bloating
- Hot flashes
- Breast discomfort
What are the Benefits Associated with Clomiphene?
Clomiphene is an orally prescribed drug to induce ovulation. Thus, it makes it easier for the patients to stick to their dose. It is affordable and carries a lower risk of side effects compared to any surgical procedure.