Fertility Drugs for Women

image001 For many years, fertility drugs have been used as the main treatment methods for women who suffer from ovulation disorders. Some of these fertility drugs for women are taken orally while others can be injected. Generally, these fertility drugs work to release hormones that can regulate or trigger ovulation.

Even if you are using other reproductive techniques such as vitro fertilization, the use of fertility drugs is still recommended as a vital part of the whole process. There are numerous types of fertility drugs. Below are some basic facts about the drugs that are commonly prescribed.

How Do Fertility Drugs for Women Work?

Basically, fertility drugs work to increase the levels of some hormones in the woman’s body. These hormones aid in maturing and releasing more eggs during ovulation every month. If you ovulate irregularly or rarely, these drugs can be of help to you. These drugs are also used alongside other conception treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is because controlling the development and release of eggs during ovulation increases the chances of conception.

There are numerous fertility drugs that have been used with success over the years. However, some can lead to severe side effects and a chance of multiple pregnancies.

When Do Women Need Fertility Drugs?

Fertility drugs are considered ideal for women suffering from one of the following conditions:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Ovulation problems
  • Eating disorders
  • PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
  • Weight issues; being underweight or overweight or when following extreme fitness regimens

Most women are required to undergo several attempts using different fertility drugs before they can get pregnant.

What Types of Fertility Drugs for Women Are Available?

Type

How it works

Dosage

Clomifene citrate

This drug blocks the effect of oestrogen in your body. This increases the levels of the two hormones responsible for ovulation; LH (luteinizing hormone) and FHS (follicle-stimulating hormone). FSH causes the ripening of the eggs while LH triggers the release of the mature eggs.

This is administered as a pill that is taken for five days early in the cycle and can be taken for up to six months.

Metformin hydrochloride

This is a drug that increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. While it is mostly used in treating diabetes, it is also good for ovulation problems especially in women with PCOS. It may be used on its own or may be combined with clomifene. It is effective for women resistant to clomifene when used alone. This drug works by lowering the insulin levels which in turn lowers the levels of testosterone and this allows for normal ovulation to take place.

This is administered as a daily dose for several doses.

Gonadotrophins

The LH and FSH hormones are gonadotrophins. These hormones stimulate your ovaries to ripen and produce fertile eggs. This drug is mostly used for women with PCOS who have failed to respond to other drugs or to women who are also using IVF. It causes your ovaries to develop and matures the egg follicles. The injection of LH and FSH is followed by injection of another hormone abbreviated as HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin). The LH and HCG hormones prompt the ovaries to release the mature eggs.

This drug is administered as injections for 12 days.

Bromocriptine

This is a drug used to correct hormonal imbalance, which can prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs on a monthly basis. This drug is especially ideal for women who have too much prolactin hormone. Having too much prolactin reduces the levels of oestrogen, which causes issues with ovulation.

This can be taken as a tablet for swallowing or a capsule that is inserted in the vagina.

Interested in learning how to take female fertility drugs? Watch the video below:

What Are the Side Effects of Fertility Drugs for Women?

1. Drug Reaction

This is a mild reaction to fertility drugs. It is characterized by hot flashes, headaches, moodiness, irritability as well as restlessness. Contact your doctor or the fertility clinic if you experience drug reaction.

2. Multiple Births

This can mean twins, triplets or more. This is the greatest health risk associated with fertility drugs. This causes the HFEA to restrict the number of embryos that can be fertilized through IVF to control the number of multiple births. Multiple births are risky to the mother and the babies. The babies are likely to be premature and to suffer from below normal birth weight.

3. Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome

This is a potentially dangerous overreaction to fertility drugs meant to stimulate egg production. This is a rare condition when using mild fertility drugs such as clomifene. In the case of stimulating large egg clusters like in ICSI or IVF, 5% of patients may experience the symptoms. It is characterized by swollen stomach, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, swelling, shortness of breath and reduced urine output. Contact your clinic if you experience any of the above symptoms.

4. Ectopic Pregnancy

This is when an embryo implants outside the uterus, commonly in the fallopian tube. Women undergoing IVF have a higher chance of developing an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is characterized by low abdominal pain on one side, vaginal bleeding or red-black vaginal discharge. The pain increases as the pregnancy continues. The major risk is the rupturing of the pregnancy that can cause internal bleeding.

5. Birth Defects

The risk of birth defects is generally low. 2% of children in Europe are born with birth defects and most of the defects are associated with fertility treatments. Even so, research on this side effect is still ongoing. It is advisable to discuss your concerns with your clinician for better understanding.

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