Common and Rare Side Effects of Using Clomid

Research Clomid facts.

Many women find that the side effects of Clomid are not bothersome enough to stop taking the fertility medication. Others have serious reactions to the drug. Each person is unique, and a wide range of reactions to Clomid exist.

What Are the Side Effects of Using Clomid?

Women's reactions to Clomid vary significantly, with some experiencing practically no side effects and others experiencing serious reactions. While exploring options in infertility treatment, many women find Clomid to be an effective solution. The short-term drug is used up to six months before moving on to another treatment for infertility if Clomid is unsuccessful.

Common Clomid Side Effects

The good news is that most women do not experience significant side effects while taking the medication. Common side effects of Clomid include physical and emotional changes. The following are the most common side effects according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with a more than one percent chance of occurring:

  • Enlarged ovaries - with multiple developing egg follicles
  • Abdominal/pelvic cramps, pain, or bloating because of enlargement of the ovaries; pain can increase near or at the time of ovulation
  • Hot flashes and mood swings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, flashing lights, floaters, spots - the chance of these symptoms increases with increasing dose of Clomid
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Uterine bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Increased risk of multiple pregnancies, most of which will be twins

Keep in mind that many women experience no side effects while taking Clomid and some factors might affect the chance of reactions. For example, women who are prone to headaches or migraines may have a higher incidence of headaches and migraines while taking the fertility medication.

Less Common Side Effects

Some Clomid side effects are less common and occur in fewer than one percent of women who take Clomid, based on the FDA reference:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depressed mood
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Vertigo
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Frequent and excessive urination
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Skin rashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Drying of cervical mucus
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Abdominal symptoms and signs that warrant surgery (surgical or acute abdomen)

Rare Side Effects

The following side effects occur rarely.

  • High levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • Inflammation of the liver
  • Possible increased risk of ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a rare side effect of special note for women taking Clomid. OHSS is a serious condition that occurs when multiple enlarged follicles in the ovaries rupture or ovulate around the same time.

The syndrome which is more common with the use of injectable fertility drugs can cause hemorrhage in the ovaries and secretion of fluid in the abdomen (ascites). In severe cases, fluid can collect in the lungs (pulmonary edema) or around the lungs (pleural effusion). Women taking Clomid should contact their doctors if they have the following symptoms:

  • Severe pelvic or abdominal pain - due to enlarged ovaries
  • Enlargement (distension) of the belly
  • Extreme nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Decreased urine output
  • Significant weight gain

Serious Side Effects That Require Medical Attention

Some side effects might require immediate medical attention. Women experiencing any of the following conditions while taking Clomid should contact their physicians right away.

  • Severe abdominal pain, which might be a sign of OHSS
  • Allergic skin reactions, which may include hives, itchiness, rashes, swelling
  • Breathing problems associated with allergic reactions, including wheezing, difficulty swallowing, and trouble breathing
  • Vision problems, including double vision, blurred sight, light flashes, and light sensitivity
  • Severe, persistent headache unrelieved by over-the-counter medicines

Clomid and Birth Defects

Clomid is a Category X medication in the Food and Drug Administration's classification. This means that the drug could cause birth defects if taken in error during a pregnancy. However, there is no increased incidence of birth defects from the use of Clomid for infertility treatment.

A possible link between fertility drugs and autism may make some women concerned about using Clomid. A 2010 Harvard University study found women who took fertility drugs long term were more likely to have a child with autism. However, experts believe that risks are minimal. Women who have a history of autism in their families should discuss concerns about fertility drugs and autism.

Before Taking Clomid

Before taking Clomid it is important to have a medical and fertility evaluation to determine if the drug is safe and likely to be effective for you. Women should discuss the possible side effects with their doctors before taking the medication,

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Common and Rare Side Effects of Using Clomid