Infertility Treatments

Clomid: Side Effects to Be Aware of

clomid side effects

Clomid is the commercial name for the fertility drug, clomiphene. It is a “mild” fertility medication because it is taken orally and, when prescribed correctly, it should only stimulate the release of an egg or two (maybe three – but the goal is always to minimize the risk of a multiples pregnancy).

While it is considered “mild” there is no denying that women using Clomid will experience some side effects. Most of the time, the side effects are entirely manageable and disappear as soon as the fertility medication cycle is over.

Clomid Side Effects: What’s Normal & What’s Not

Here is a list of the normal side effects associated with Clomid. These are all signs your body is working to mature and release eggs, and are the result of the ovulatory hormones that are affected by Clomid:

  • Breast tenderness or discomfort
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Headache
  • Pelvic tenderness or mild discomfort
  • Hot flashes
  • Moodiness or irritability
  • Nausea or vomiting (not extreme) (only about 2% of women taking Clomid report this symptom)
  • Diarrhea

In moderation, all of these are normal. If, however, you experience more dramatic or unbearable symptoms, you should contact your doctor ASAP.

Contact Your Physician if Experiencing These Clomid Side Effects

Sometimes, however, a woman is more sensitive to the effects of Clomid and other ovarian stimulation medications, in which case we make sure every patient understands which side effects deserve immediate attention from your physician or fertility specialist.

Anything that “doesn’t feel right” to you

First and foremost, you should always trust your body. It’s so easy for women with infertility factors to believe that the physicians have all the answers and that their bodies are no longer “trustworthy.” That is not the case at all. You are still the wisest person when it comes to what is right – and what is not – for your body.

Always contact your physician or fertility specialist if you feel that something isn’t right. We are always happy to put your fears to rest if we feel your experience is “normal,” and would be devastated if you ever withheld information or a concern when immediate attention was needed at the time.

Severe abdominal swelling, pain, or discomfort

While far less common with Clomid, some women develop a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). While most common in women using injectable fertility medications for IVF, it is also considered a severe reaction to Clomid. When it occurs, severe inflammation and swelling occurs in the ovaries and pelvis area.

If you continue taking Clomid with symptoms of OHSS, you can make the situation far worse. The first sign of OHSS is typically severe swelling, pain, or discomfort in the pelvic and abdominal regions. The abdomen may also feel tight or hard.

If you experience anything more than the type of bloating or pelvic tenderness you experienced when you’re on your period or when you’ve ovulated in the past, give your doctor a call to check in.

Severe or prolonged nausea or vomiting

As stated above, nausea or vomiting are usually only reported in about 2% of women who take Clomid and isn’t a constant in their lives. If you are experiencing OHSS this symptom may be more severe or persistent.

Shortness of breath or chest pain

All of the swelling and inflammation in the pelvis of a woman with OHSS can make itself known in other places as well. One of them is the lungs and chest area, where you may experience chest pain or shortness of breath.

Other symptoms

Additional symptoms warranting an immediate call to your provider are:

  • Decreased urination
  • Stroke symptoms
  • Seizures

We want to reiterate that OHSS is quite rare with Clomid. But we also need patients to be educated and informed so they can be agents of their own health and wellbeing. You will be carefully monitored during your Clomid cycle but should not hesitate to contact us if the symptoms persist after our normal office hours.

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