Obviously, it goes without saying – I am NOT a medical expert. This post is based on my personal experiences of Clomid. Everyone will have different experiences and results. Always contact a medical professional for advice before taking any new medication.
I have taken Clomid (not to be confused with Covid!) on two separate occasions and both times I had wildly different experiences. I have written all about my trying to conceive journey before in The Birds, The Bees and Trying To Conceive. But, today I am talking to you about Clomid, what it is and what to expect when taking it. I’m also sharing my experience of taking it.
What Is Clomid And Who Can Take It?
Clomid – also known as clomiphene citrate – is a fertility drug, generally prescribed to women who are struggling with getting pregnant. It can also be taken by men (it may help with sperm count).
It is given to women who do not ovulate or do not ovulate regularly due to having conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), unexplained infertility and anovulation (which is what I was diagnosed with).
Before you are prescribed Clomid you will normally have to go through a series of tests to correctly diagnose the cause of your infertility such as transvaginal ultrasounds, hysterosalpingography and several blood tests. Your fertility specialist will then decide on the correct treatment options for you going forward.
How Do You Take it?
Clomid tablets are taken for five days, on menstrual cycle days 2 to 6. This can vary depending on what your fertility specialist advises. The starting dose is 50mg but this can be upped to 100mg and even 150mg if it does not work. Again this will depend on your fertility specialist and what they recommend.
Usually, blood tests will then be performed on cycle day 21 (or closest to) to see if ovulation had occurred that month. Depending on your fertility treatment, you may also be offered a scan to check your ovaries to see if ovulation has occurred. You will be called a few days later with the results.
How Does Clomid Work?
I’ll keep this bit short!
Clomid suppresses the amount oestrogen that your body naturally produces and this causes the pituitary gland to increase the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). These higher levels stimulate the ovaries to produce an egg (or possibly eggs). These then develop and are released during ovulation.
What Are The Side Effects?
Some Clomid side effects include:
- Mood Swings
- Tender Breasts
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Trouble sleeping
- Hot flashes
- Possible blurry vision
- Chance of multiple pregnancy
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a rare but serious side effect of some fertility treatments, normally associated with IVF (In vitro fertilization). This is where too many eggs develop in the ovaries and cause them to become very large and painful.
Using Home Ovulation Tests And Timing Sex
If you want to test for peak ovulation days at home, you can normally start using home ovulation tests from around cycle day 10. You can test at any time of the day but it is normally recommended that you limit fluids for 2 hours before testing. Some tests do suggest not using the first wee of the day. Aim to test at the same time every day. You are looking for both lines to be the same colour on the test.
Please do be aware that some Clomid treatment may cause you to get false positive readings on your ovulation tests.
With regards to timing sex, sometimes just aiming for your most fertile window can mean that you accidentally miss it. Every other day from when you finish taking the tablets is advisable but at least 2-3 times a week until you get your period is also good!
With regards to recording your temperature to check for ovulation, due to having hot flushes, these may alter your readings slightly. This is something to be aware of.
What Are The Success Rates?
When taking Clomid approximately 80 per cent of women will ovulate. However, ovulation does not guarantee a pregnancy. Approximately 10 to 12 per cent of women that ovulate will get pregnant in that Clomid cycle.
When Clomid Doesn’t Work
Clomid is generally only prescribed for 6 months, however, this is down to your fertility specialist. This is generally because if it hasn’t worked after 6 cycles it is unlikely to work in any further cycles. It can also cause some issues with the cervical mucus which can make it harder to get pregnant.
After this time you will likely meet with your fertility specialist and they will then decide on the next course of action. Depending on you and your circumstances, this could possibly be ovarian drilling or IVF (In vitro fertilization).
Why I was Prescribed It
When I came off the pill in late 2014, I had extremely irregular periods, ranging anywhere from 28 days to 65 days, sometimes longer! It was a nightmare trying to track my periods to see when my fertile window was!
Usually, when you are trying to conceive and you are under the age of 36 you have to have been trying for 1 year before you are referred to the fertility clinic. Due to my erratic cycles, I went to the doctors before this time so that my periods could be investigated. I wanted to check that there was nothing wrong with me! (There’s a lot wrong with me, but that’s another story 🤣!)
I was first checked for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), by having a transvaginal ultrasound. This showed that I did not have PCOS. Next was the hysterosalpingography. This is a special X-ray to check that the fallopian tubes are open. Everything came back normal.
During this time I was having regular blood tests. The blood tests should have been taken on cycle day 1 and cycle day 21, however, I wouldn’t normally have the test done on CD1 as I would never know my period was coming until the day it turned up!
All the blood tests indicated that I was not ovulating (anovulation) each month so I was prescribed Clomid to kick my ovaries into gear!
The First Course
I’ll be completely honest, the first time I took Clomid in 2016, it was AWFUL. I suffered from lots of side effects but mainly hot flashes, irritability and CRAMPS! I was given was Clomid 50mg to try for 3 months to see how I got on.
The cramps were the absolute worst. I would come home from work in tears. I would take pain killers and lay on the sofa with a hot water bottle, hoping for the pain to ease.
It was so bad that I called the Fertility clinic asking what I should do and if I could have some painkillers. Do you know what they said to me? As I’ve not had proper periods for a while maybe I’m just not used to period pain. I was fuming! This was most certainly was NOT period pain. I was having to take my hot water bottle to work with me! Anyway, the cramps were right around the time that I expected to be ovulating, not when I was expecting my period.
I did this for 3 months in a row and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Not only was I in pain, but my mental health was suffering terribly and it wasn’t even working anyway. Also, due to being in so much pain around the time of ovulating, we weren’t able to do the deed!
The Second Course
As a complete contrast, the second time of taking Clomid (a year later in 2017) I had no side effects whatsoever! In fact, the first month I took it, we got pregnant! I just could not believe the difference. In fact, I didn’t actually believe that it had worked.
When we got the call from the fertility clinic with the blood test results she said that the hormone was not at the level that they would expect to see for ovulation to have occurred but she could not say for definite if I had or hadn’t ovulated. Obviously, I just took this as I hadn’t ovulated and was thoroughly disappointed! Clearly, I was wrong as 9 months later I gave birth to Baby J! But you can read all about that in The Wait.
I hope that you have found this Clomid information helpful. As I said above, I am by no means a medical expert. When I was on Clomid to conceive my son I looked up everything that I could find on it so that I could be as informed as possible. I just wanted to pass that information on.
If you are just about to embark on your own journey and want to speak to someone, my mailbox is always open! I’d be happy to answer any questions that you have.