How Does Clomid Help With Fertility Problems?



Clomid is one of the least expensive and most effective of the medications that are used for fertility problems today. Also known as Clomiphene Citrate, Clomid is a hormone used to induce ovulation, to correct irregular ovulation, to increase egg production and to correct a condition known as luteal phase deficiency. Clomid is typically taken in doses from 59 mg to 200 mg, and taken for 5-9 days. It is easily taken (orally rather than by injection) and it is the first line drug used for ovulation induction in patients with PCOS and other ovulatory disorders. It has been used for patients with luteal phase defect. It can also be used to assess ovarian reserve (the likelihood that a woman’s ovaries can still produce viable eggs). Clomid is not useful for women whose ovaries have reached the end of their working life.

The way that Clomid works to help with fertility problems is somewhat complicated. Clomid reacts with all of the tissues in the body that have estrogen receptors, such as the hypothalamus, pituitary, ovary, endometrium, vagina, and cervix. Clomid influences the way that the four hormones required for ovulation, GnRH, FSH, LH and estradiol, relate and interrelate. While we do not completely understand the mechanisms by which this drug works, in essence it appears that Clomid fools the body into believing that the estrogen level is low. This altered feedback information causes the hypothalamus (an area of the brain) to make and release more gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) which in turn causes the pituitary to make and release more FSH and LH. More follicle stimulating hormone and more luteinizing hormone should result in the release of one or more mature eggs – thus helping to cause ovulation.

Clomid will not help every woman who has fertility problems. Because women’s bodies are so different from one another, their reactions to Clomid can also be very different. In additon, Some women have virtually no side effects, while others will. Side effects are frequently related to emotions. Side effects may include mood swings, hot flashes, breast tenderness, and thinning of the uterine lining. About 10 percent of those who use Clomid will have a multiple pregnancy (twins). Clomid can cause hostile fertile mucous and thins the uterine lining in over 30 percent of the women who use it. The hostile mucus kills sperm, and the thin uterine can prevent implantation or cause an early miscarriage.

Most women do not have any symptoms from taking Clomid. Some will have some lower abdominal cramps in the 2nd half of the cycle. Rarely (less than 1-2%) a woman may experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. In this case the ovaries become quite enlarged and grow cysts. If this occurs, the ovaries can cause moderate pelvic pain. There can also be large amounts of fluid secreted into the abdominal cavity. Sometimes the fluid can be so severe that it can cause heart or kidney failure.

Several years ago, there research findings were reported stating that Clomid increased a woman’s chance of getting cervical cancer. The data associated with that study have since been found to be flawed, and many physicians discredit the researchers’ conclusions. However, if you have concerns, talk to your physician about them.

Clomid has been used to help with fertility problems by inducing ovulation for more that thirty years.  It is not associated with an increase in premature labor or in other complications of pregnancy.


Last modified: February 10, 2013