Have you been wondering if Clomid has some side effects or risks? Most people in Australia are learning the importance of checking the impacts of medication, and Clomid isn’t an exception.
Clomid is available under the trade names Serophene and clomiphene – these are all the same medicine. Its side effects are often minimal and may include headaches, bloating, hot flashes, and breast tenderness. However, like with any medication, knowing the side effects before treatment is crucial.
The drug’s mechanism of action causes numerous Clomid adverse effects. It deceives the body into believing there is insufficient oestrogen, which it accomplishes by inhibiting oestrogen receptors. This causes the body to generate more GnRH, a hormone instructing the pituitary to produce more LH and FSH. These hormones activate the ovaries and elevate the likelihood of ovulation.
Because most oestrogen receptors are blocked, clomiphene can cause some adverse effects, such as headaches and vaginal dryness. Most of the other adverse effects are produced by the ovaries slightly enlarging.
Adverse Effects of Clomid
The following list might not include all potential side effects and hazards. Contact your doctor if you have severe side effects, odd symptoms, or are worried. Your doctor will evaluate your risk of developing potential side effects and address any concerns or questions you may have.
Flashes of heat
Hot flashes (in official medical jargon, “vasomotor flushes”) are a frequent adverse effect of clomiphene. In clinical research, they were reported to occur in around one in ten women. During a heat flash, you may experience the following:
- Feeling unusually warm
- Face flushing
- Sweat profusely
- Have a faster pulse
You may feel cold after a hot flash, mainly if you break out in a sweat. If they occur while you sleep, hot flashes are often called night sweats.
It might be slightly unsettling when a hot flash occurs for the first time. But, this is not a harmful occurrence—merely an unpleasant one.
Bloating and Discomfort in the Abdomen
Bloating and stomach pain are other fairly prevalent Clomid adverse effects. According to research, it affects around 6% of females.
Wearing loose-fitting garments around the waist may assist. Once your treatment cycle is complete, the bloated sensations should subside.
Contact your doctor if you feel more than mild pain or cramping. Excessive bloating or soreness in the abdomen may indicate ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
Weight gain is less frequent than bloating, with less than one in every hundred persons reporting weight changes in early clinical investigations.
What may account for the fact that relatively few individuals reported weight gain in an early study, yet so many people online complain about gaining weight while on Clomid?
One possibility is that the weight gain is a transitory side effect of the bloating. Bloating and water retention are frequent side effects of Clomid medication. If the weight increase is due to bloating, it should return to normal after therapy.
Another explanation is that treatment-related stress results in poor eating. The easiest method to counteract this is to plan your meals and have fertility-friendly snacks on hand for when the cravings strike.
Mood swings are another adverse effect of clomiphene that was not common in early, pre-approval clinical research (less than 1% of people).
However, further research discovered that over half of all Clomid users reported mood problems.
Mood swings might increase emotional sensitivity, tearfulness, depression, or anxiety. Without the use of medicines, infertility may elicit similar sentiments. Try to be kind and compassionate with yourself throughout therapy, and practise excellent self-care.
Nausea and Vertigo
Around 2% of persons who take clomiphene develop nausea and vomiting. Evening doses of the drug may be beneficial. If your nausea is severe or you have difficulty swallowing meals or liquids, notify your doctor immediately.
Severe nausea may also be a symptom of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, an uncommon but serious adverse effect of fertility treatments.
Breast discomfort is another possible clomiphene adverse effect in 2% of patients during clinical trials. This negative effect may make you question whether you’re pregnant. However, this is often a side effect of medication.
Abnormal Menstrual Bleeding
Slightly more than 1% of participants in Clomid clinical trials did observe spotting or atypical menstrual bleeding.
Certain individuals may see spotting and believe it is implantation spotting. However, spotting amid your cycle may be a side effect if you take fertility medication. It would be best not to assume this is a pregnancy indicator automatically.
Consult your doctor if other symptoms, including the following, accompany the spotting:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Vomiting and nausea
- A sense that something is wrong
A little more than 1% of participants in clinical studies reported experiencing headaches when using Clomid.
If you are suffering from headaches, taking medicine in the evening may be beneficial. This method allows you to sleep through the discomfort. (If your doctor has instructed you to take the prescription, especially in the morning, inquire beforehand.) Additionally, drink lots of water since minor dehydration might result in headaches.
Dry Vaginal Mucus or Excessive Cervical Mucus
This is a bothersome possible Clomid side effect since thick or missing cervical fluid might obstruct pregnancy.
Cervical mucus is required to assist the sperm in entering the cervix. If clomiphene results in thick cervical mucus, this may reduce the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
Inform your doctor if this occurs during therapy. They can determine if clomiphene is the best medication for you or discuss a strategy to treat or avoid the issue (like with IUI treatment).
You could wish to experiment with a sperm-friendly lubricant to increase your comfort level during sex.
Blurred vision is a disconcerting, although generally not hazardous, adverse effect of clomiphene. During clinical studies, it happened in 1.5% of participants. This is more likely to occur with increased dosages.
Among the vision problems that may occur are the following:
- Perplexed vision
- Observation of flashing lights
- Observation of floaters
You should use caution if you have visual side effects while driving or using hazardous equipment.
If you notice changes in your eyesight, call your doctor immediately. Once the medicine is discontinued, the symptoms should resolve.
What are the long-term side effects of Clomid?
Additional side effects of Clomid
While side effects are often physical or mental discomforts associated with medication use, dangers may occur in addition to what you feel. With that stated, the following are some of the probable hazards associated with Clomid:
Twin or multiple pregnancies
Perhaps the most well-known adverse effect of clomiphene is the possibility of becoming pregnant with twins or more. According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 11.7% of pregnancies between 1997 and 2005 were twins, while 1.1% were triplets or quadruplets.
To minimise the risk of twins, your doctor should begin you on the lowest dosage possible. Additionally, your doctor may do a mid-cycle scan to evaluate the number of follicles and whether or not a high likelihood of twins or multiples exists. You and your partner may decide whether to skip that cycle or continue normally.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
Usually minor when clomiphene is used, although a severe variant might arise in rare situations. Severe OHSS, if left untreated, may be fatal.
Consult your doctor immediately if you have nausea, severe stomach or pelvic discomfort, rapid weight gain, or significant bloating.
Irreversible vision disturbances
Extremely uncommon vision disturbances occur exclusively in individuals who continue therapy after the onset of the visual problem. After three days, individuals who quit medication had no further visual issues.
During therapy, 15.4% of patients will develop an ovarian cyst.
Typically, the cyst is benign (noncancerous) and should resolve on its own shortly after the therapy cycle. If the cyst does not resolve independently, the doctor contacts your doctor for a reevaluation. In rare instances, surgical intervention may be required.
Certain studies have shown an elevated risk of ovarian cancer after using clomiphene for a year or longer. It is unknown whether this is a clomiphene side effect or infertility itself.
Strategies for Mitigating Adverse Effects
While you cannot completely prevent or eliminate all possible side effects of Clomid, there are steps you and your doctor may take to help minimise them.
Begin with the lowest possible dose: More does not always equal better. Your doctor will likely begin you on the lowest dosage possible, but if the first cycle fails, they may advise you to repeat it at the same dose. While you may believe that a bigger dosage is better, this is not always true.
Take the pill in the evening: If you suffer from headaches, using Clomid before bedtime may be beneficial.
Keep an eye on your diet: While using Clomid, some weight gain may occur, the most of this increase should be transitory. The weight increase caused by bloating and water retention will subside. However, any weight gained from stress eating while on Clomid will remain.
Prioritise self-care: Clomid-induced mood changes are genuine. They are not “merely mental.” Taking care of yourself is the most effective strategy to manage this side effect. Get adequate sleep, eat a balanced diet, and enlist the assistance of friends and family.
Dress in layers if you have heat flushes: If you get abruptly hot, you may remove clothes to allow your body to cool down more quickly. Additionally, drinking anything cold might help you chill down.
Evan is the founder of Fertility2Family and is passionate about fertility education & providing affordable products to help people in their fertility journey. Evan is a qualified enrolled nurse and has expertise in guiding & managing patients through their fertility journeys.