Clomid Side Effects

Clomid Side Effects: Real Women Tell It Like It Is

In Fertility by The Modern Belly28 Comments

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When my doctor first prescribed Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate), I asked him if there are any side effects I should be aware of. “You’ll be at a greater risk of having twins”, he said, “but other than that, not really.” The warning on the box, however, told a different story, with a long list of potential Clomid side effects. So when the headaches, hot flashes and moodiness started, I wasn’t really surprised. I couldn’t help but wonder: was I the exception or the rule?

To find out what the most common Clomid side effects were, I decided to do a small research project. I randomly selected posts of 100 women who discussed Clomid side effects on the message forums of Baby Center and The Bump. Only six of these women reported that they didn’t experience anything at all, suggesting that indeed, some side effects are to be expected. Of course, this data set may be biased as women who experienced side effects are more likely to post about it online, yet the large number of women who were affected by the pill suggests that side effects are relatively common. In fact, the majority of women in the data set experienced 2-3 side effects, and a quarter suffered from 4 or more.

Clomid Side Effects Mini InfographicSo what should you expect if you’re taking Clomid? The most common complaints were hot flashes (60% of women), mood swings (44%) and headaches (31%), so it is quite likely you’ll be dealing with at least one of those. Generally, those side effects are mild and do not interfere too much with women’s daily lives, but some have a worse experience than others. Clomid is one of those pills that can make us a little, um, unpredictable. After all, flushing and alternating mood swings don’t bring out the best in people. My husband and I usually get along great, and yet we had a fight that I completely blame on Clomid. I would suggest you warn your loved ones in advance…

But the fun doesn’t end here. There are a variety of Clomid side effects that were reported by at least 10 women, including bloating, cramping during ovulation, nausea, and restless sleep that could also lead to fatigue and exhaustion. Clomid also dries up some women’s cervical mucus and could cause vaginal itching. Less common side effects include bad dreams, dizziness, sore breasts and decreased appetite.

Serious side effects are not common but important to note. Six women experienced blurry vision, two suffered from ovarian cysts and another one had thinning of the uterine lining. Clomid can also cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a condition in which the ovaries swell and in rare cases leak fluid into the stomach, chest or heart area. If you develop severe pain in the lower abdomen, excessive weight gain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, small amounts of dark urine, extreme thirst, red and swollen legs, or difficulty breathing, contact your doctor immediately, as these may be signs that you have severe OHSS.

Do many Clomid side effects sound familiar? I bet they do, because they are so similar to pregnancy symptoms. Don’t let that fool you – I can speak from experience when I say that it is really disappointing when you find out that all those early signs of pregnancy were in fact just lingering effects of Clomid. The only way to know for sure that you are pregnant, especially when you’re on Clomid, is to take a pregnancy test. Clomid is a great fertility drug and helped many women ovulate and get pregnant, but it’s by no means a “magic pill” that works for everyone. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Clomid will induce ovulation in about 80% of women, and between a third and two-thirds of those will get pregnant within 3-6 cycles. Personally, I took Clomid three times and ovulated every time, but I didn’t get pregnant. My doctor decided to take me off the pill after its impact started to wear off by the third cycle. So if you’re taking Clomid, keep your hopes high, but be prepared to see a single line on your pregnancy test.

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    1. Author

      I can’t specifically blame Clomid, but I definitely gained weight during my fertility treatments.

  1. Im on day 3 of clomid, havent really noticed many side affects besides a few hot flushes. Though i did pre warn my husband i may be moody. Lucky for him im not haha.

  2. This is exactly how I feel and I am at the end of Day 3. Two more days to go!

  3. I’ve been TTC for over a year now. My gyno gave me clomid and believe me its the worst ive felt in my entire life. On the 4th day of clomid I had so much clotted blood coming out of me and since then i’ve been having cramps with a heavy loss of blood because my menstration did not stop. This is the 9th day of my menstration and im still having a heavy flowMy gyno said he can’t give me clomid again because of these effects….

  4. I have taken clomid three consecutive times, ovulated but did not get pregnant. What is the likely cause?

    1. Author

      It’s so hard to tell, because there are so many reasons this could be the case. I don’t even want to speculate. You may want to try some other medications (such as Letrozole or injectables) to see if those are more effective for you, but your doctor would probably have the best course of action since they know your medical history and may already have a theory about the likely cause of you not being pregnant.

  5. Maria, I also have Hashimotos. Word of advice, ask your doc about nature thyroid or armour instead of synthroid. I say this bc hashimotos effects t3 and t4, the antibodies in your blood stream are attacking your thyroid. synthroid doesnt help your body to go into remission. The nature thyroid gives your body t3 and t4 allowing your body to function better and begin the long road to remission. I have had multiple miscarriages so hopefully these new changes including clomid and progesterone along with a healthy dose of mucinex will do the trick. Best of luck to all.

  6. I’m on the 4th round of clomid. And I have had bloating,nausea,painful cramps,yeast infection, major weight gain, hot flashes and night sweats. I think I have had all the side effects.
    One right now I have burning /sore tongue. In the last 2 weeks. I don’t know if it is because of clomid or not.
    I’m soon ready just to stop it.

    1. Author

      I’m sorry you’re experiencing so many side effects, it sounds awful!

  7. This is my first time taking Clomid and I’m on day 3. The only thing I have noticed so far is a decrease in appetite and vague nausea all the time. Hopefully the next 2 days will go as well as these first 3! (I’m just doing CD3-7 at 50mg)

  8. So weird bc normally if there are side effects to gotten, I’ve got them lol. I had absolutely no side effects and was at the highest dose of 150mg. I took it at bedtime so that may have helped.

  9. I was diagnosed with PCOS & Hashimoto’s disease two months ago. We have been trying for years and we always get a big fat negative. My doctor prescribed me with Synthroid, Metformin, Vitamin D, Pre Natal, Progesterone & Clomid. Imagine all that cocktail of medication — the side effects were horrible. I had to work during the day and work out at night while enduring those side effects. As I am writing this — this is my first cycle IUI cycle and I am on my third day of Clomid. As far as where I am already — the bloating, feeling of fullness, hot flashes, mood swings, food cravings are the most prominent. What I hate most is the bloating and the food cravings. I am already working so hard to lose weight and having these side effects were not helpful at all. I am so ready to finish this Clomid and ovulate soon so we can proceed with the IUI. I am nervous and anxious for this procedure. We are really praying hard so that we can have a little one soon.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, Marie. I have a friend with Hashimoto’s and she has a lovely baby boy. I hope you’ll get to have your own little one very soon!

    2. Hi, Marie! I wanted to share with you that my mom went undiagnosed with Hashimoto’s for years and was able to have two healthy children. In fact, her endocrinologist has recently looked at old records and realized my mother had no working thyroid while pregnant with me (first pregnancy). Somehow, she made it through, and I turned out just fine (no neurological or brain damage). She did miscarry between my younger sister and me, but this is most likely due to the UNTREATED part of her disease. With my sister, though undiagnosed, she was treating her thyroid and had a 10-pound baby naturally! I am 31 now, and my sister is 28. I am on my first round of Clomid and anticipate difficulties (being a fetus receiving nothing from my mother’s thyroid has more than likely had an effect on my endocrine system!), but my doctor (a reproductive autoimmune specialist who also sees my mom) isn’t worried at all. You will get pregnant with time, and your baby will be beautiful and healthy!

      1. Author

        Thanks for sharing, Courtney, and good luck with your own TTC journey!

  10. Hi Christina. I have PCOS too. I’m also on 25mg as well. I actually was diagnosed with PCOS in December. After my husband and I had been trying to conceive for months I finally went to my gyno who referred me to a specialist. I am on Metaformin 1500mg, prenatal and synthroid. My husband and I tried February year with Clomiphene added to my mix of drugs and went in for the ultrasound on day 11 and doctor said I was ovulating and not to start conceiving until the next day. On day 28 the test was negative so we tried again in March. April I found out I was pregnant and ended up having an Ectopic Pregnancy. So after a few months of rest and healing we are at it again. I’m on my last day of Clomiphene(thank gosh the side effects are rough!) Good luck to you my fellow PCOS sister! Modern Belly thank you for sharing your story!

  11. Can I ask how many mg you ladies took? I’m on day one and my doctor started me on 25mg because I have polycystic ovaries. Hopefully since I’m taking a lower dose I won’t have too many side effects. Thanks in advance!

  12. What is the time frame for the side effects? I feel like a time bomb but I don’t know when I’ll go off! I’m on day 3 of my first round and I’m just waiting to get really mean, swollen, and sweaty 😂

    1. Author

      Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t get any symptoms! Mine typically started on the second or third day of taking Clomid, but it varies.

  13. Did anyone have horrible bloating to where it hurt to take a deep breath and all you can do is burp and or pass gas, I got the hot flashes and night sweats, but this gas thing is the worst!! Sorry this was so descriptive but I wondered if I’m alone with it??

    1. Author

      Bloating is a common side effect of Clomid, and some get it worse than others. However, I’m a little concerned that your level of discomfort might be a symptom of OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome), so if it persists, you should reach out to your doctor just to rule it out.

  14. Hi Molly,
    It’s really nice to see the effort that you are taking to sample data and do a case study! I am on metformin as of now, am planning to start clomid in a few months. Thanks for the honest depiction of the facts! Doctors hardly give any of these warnings! It’s nice to be aware of the possibility of the single line on the HPT stick! Will keep that in mind…
    Regards,
    Aish

    1. Author

      Thank you, Aish. I think doctors don’t always realize how disruptive things like mood swings and hot flashes can be for us, so they only warn about major side effects like OHSS and multiples. I find that knowing about the side effects and being preparing for them really helps, which is why I started digging into the data (also, I’m a geek). Good luck with Clomid – I hope it will do the trick for you!

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