Common Side Effects of Ovarian Stimulating Medications


Common Side Effects of Ovarian Stimulating Medications

Ovarian stimulating drugs have been used as a first-line fertility treatment for more than 50 years because they are both safe and effective for women who have irregular ovulatory patterns, women with PCOS and also couples with male factor infertility diagnosis related to sperm count.

While Clomid is widely successful in stimulating the release of a mature egg (producing ovulation in roughly 80% of women who take it), doctors especially appreciate that accurate dosage minimizes the risk of serious side effects as well as the risk of higher-order multiples. Like any other prescription drug, however, some women experience negative side effects during their Clomid cycles.

Always take your fertility medication as prescribed to minimize the risk of any negative side effects.

Familiarize yourself with Clomid’s side effects before starting your prescription

Fortunately, the large majority of side effects associated with Clomid are mild, and the few that pose a more serious threat are very rare.

Some of the symptoms may be familiar to you if you’ve experienced moderate to severe PMS or have taken hormone-based birth control because any changes in your body’s hormone balance can cause physical changes and symptoms.

Mild side effects of Clomid

Only about 10% of women who take Clomid report its most common side effects, which include:

  • Headachesclomid
  • Queasy stomach
  • Hot flashes or flushing
  • Breast tenderness or swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Minor mood swings or irritability

Rare and more serious side effects

In rare cases, women experience a serious condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHS), which can cause ovarian cysts and intense pelvic discomfort. The warning signs of OHSS include:

  • Severe pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Bloating and pelvic tenderness
  • Irregular bleeding
  • More intense nausea
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Intense mood swings and/or depression
  • Decreased urination
  • Breathlessness

In extremely rare cases, progressed OHSS causes:

  • Stroke
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures

Contact your fertility specialist or healthcare provider immediately if you or your partner experiences any of the symptoms associated with OHSS.

Clomid increases your risk of having multiples

One of the reasons fertility specialists start with Clomid, before moving onto injectable fertility medications, is that Clomid is taken orally (preferable to self-administered injections), its effects are more gentle, and the side effects are rarely serious. Also, an accurate dosage of Clomid significantly decreases the risk of a higher-order multiples birth (triplets or more) that puts both mothers and babies at risk.

So, while the chances of having twins or triplets using Clomid are significantly lower than with injectable fertility medication, there is still a risk.

  • Your chances of having twins while taking Clomid are between 5% and 8% (about 1 in 20)
  • Your chances of having triplets on Clomid are less than 1% (less than 1 in 100)

When pursuing fertility treatments, the ultimate goal is to conceive one healthy baby per pregnancy to minimize the increased risks associated with multiple births.

Careful monitoring by a fertility specialist decreases any risks

In most cases, your fertility specialist will monitor you via ultrasound throughout your Clomid cycle(s) to ensure it’s working and to catch any signs of OHSS before it progresses.

Contact the Fertility Center of Dallas to learn more about whether Clomid is the right first-step in your fertility journey.


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