How Clomid Works

Many couples who dream of having a family can do so with little or no difficulty, while others seem to struggle an uphill battle with fertility issues. Those who deal with infertility, whether male or female, often embark upon the road of fertility treatments in order to fulfill their dream of having children.

Clomid-The First Choice For Ovulatory Induction

If the testing shows that the issue is ovulatory dysfunction-one of the most common causes of infertility-then the physician will likely prescribe the drug Clomid as the first choice of medication to regulate or induce ovulation. Clomid, technically referred to as clomiphene citrate, is usually given at the lowest possible dosage initially to determine efficacy. If the lower dose does not stimulate ovulation, the dose is increased for the next cycle. The maximum number of cycles of Clomid suggested is six cycles, and if ovulation occurs with usage, then there is no value in increasing the dose. If, after six cycles, there has not been ovulation, then another method of ovulatory stimulation is chosen.

What Happens During Normal Ovulation

In order to explain how Clomid works, it is worthwhile to know how a normal ovulatory cycle occurs. The function of the hypothalamus, a small gland at the base of the brain, is to regulate the levels of specific hormones produced by the pituitary gland that are necessary for normal function of the reproductive organs. Two of the major reproductive hormones that are affected are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) is produced by the hypothalamus and travels to the pituitary gland where it stimulates the production of FSH. FSH in turn stimulates the growth and development of ovarian follicles, each of which contains an egg. As long as FSH levels are high, there is abundant production of follicles that develop and mature. These healthy follicles produce estrogen, which travels through the blood to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus monitors and regulates estrogen levels and produces GnRH according to the need. When the estrogen levels are high, a signal is sent that the follicles are mature, causing a decrease in GnRH production and a lowering of FSH levels.

Clomid's Job Is To Trick The Body

Clomid is prescribed if this process is hindered in any way. It works by tricking the estrogen receptors at the hypothalamus into functioning as though estrogen levels are low. This causes an increased production of GnRH by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland is stimulated to increase FSH production. The overriding concept is to cause the body to produce an abundance of mature follicles, which will result in eggs that can be fertilized, resulting in pregnancy.

Of the women who are prescribed Clomid (who do not already ovulate), 80 percent will ovulate and of these, 40 percent will conceive and of this number, 10 percent will have a multiple pregnancy. If ovulation occurs, the need for Clomid is redundant. Clomid is recommended for a maximum of six cycles and numerous studies demonstrate that if pregnancy is going to occur on Clomid, 75 percent of them will happen within three or four cycles.

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