I literally danced a jig when my doctor put me on Clomid! Finally! I had heard and read so much about this wonder drug, that I thought I was most definitely on my way to a beautiful BFP! I was placed on it for five days, starting on the 2nd day of my cycle. And when ovulation time came, the scans showed that it had done exactly what it was supposed to, with some nice, juicy eggs ready to pop. However, we weren’t lucky that cycle, or the cycle after, or even the one after that. By our 5th Clomid cycle, we were told to take a break for a while. That marked the end of my love affair with the drug, as shortly after we moved on to IVF. But I knew we were just unlucky, as many women had been successful before me, and continue to be successful to this day. Clomid has, and will continue to, help(ed) many women ovulate, and subsequently conceive. However, and as I realised when I was well into my Clomid phase, there are so many things women do not know when they are about to start taking the drug.
Clomid is a good treatment plan if you have ovulatory problems. However, if your issue is not ovulation, it will not get you any closer to a BFP. If you ovulate just fine, the odds are high that the issues preventing you from conceiving will still persist, regardless of how many Clomid cycles you are on. If you have blocked fallopian tubes, even if Clomid helps boost the number of eggs you produce, it will not help your case, as the egg(s) will still have no access route. If your issue is low or diminished ovarian reserve, it also won’t help you much. And if your case is male factor infertility, please do not waste your time with it. Even if it works like a charm for you, if there are no swimmers to do the deed, then it is all an effort in futility.
As effective as it can be, its side effects can be legendary! One of its major side effects is the negative impact it has on cervical mucus. Clomid is known to block estrogen receptors. As a rise in estrogen levels triggers the production of fertile cervical mucus, blocking its receptors unavoidably leads to a decrease in the quality of this cervical mucus. This is the reason a lot of doctors choose IUI, just to circumvent the cervical mucus problem. Another major side effect is the thinning of the inner uterine lining, i.e. the endometrium, thus leading to possible implantation issues. But this thinning is more prevalent with women who have had multiple Clomid cycles. Other side effects include vaginal dryness (as hilariously referenced by one of our community members, here), headaches, hot flashes, dizziness, breast tenderness, nausea, and other PMS/pregnancy-like symptoms. Of course, this does not imply that one must have to suffer all, or even any, of these when on Clomid. They are just some possible effects of the drug. It is also possible to suffer ovarian overstimulation on Clomid, especially if the dosage is too high. This overstimulation presents itself mainly through bloating and abdominal pain. Frequent scans and general monitoring are ways to counter this overstimulation problem.
For me, the most impacting thing I read about Clomid is that there is a limit to the number of cycles a woman must use it. The acceptable number of cycles a woman should be on the drug, in her lifetime, is 6 to 12. It should not be used indefinitely. One reason for this is the likely increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. This is one of the reasons we stepped on the breaks after our 5th failed cycle on the drug. It didn’t help that I had developed a rather large ovarian cyst (which is another fairly common side effect). When I read this, I knew there was no way I could possibly continue. Another impacting factor that contributed to our decision to stop clomid was when we read that, on the whole, women who are likely to conceive through Clomid do so in the first 3 cycles of its use. Very few conceive after 6 straight cycles.
But highlighting these side effects and implications is in no way meant to discredit the drug. When used properly, and for the right amount of time, its success rate is quite impressive. Clomid will induce ovulation in about 80% of women (usually with ovulatory problems). About 40% to 45% percent of these women will become pregnant within 6 cycles of using Clomid. For couples with unexplained infertility, their success rates fall in the 10% to 20% range, just like the odds of a fertile couple trying naturally.
But don’t expect to have an automatic multiple pregnancy, just because you are on Clomid. Sorry to disappoint you, but this is just a myth. The truth is that Clomid results in a twin pregnancy only 10% of the time. So, you just might need to manage those expectations 😉
So, if you are about to start the Clomid journey, be sure you and your Doctor agree on the best dosage for your body, expect the possible side effects and find ways to deal with them, and have your eye on the calendar, to avoid using it for one too many cycles.
Good luck, my people! Baby dust to all!