What Are the Side Effects and Risks of Taking Fertility Drugs?

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As with nearly every type of medicine, there will always be a risk and a benefit. Most people take medicines for the benefits, and more often than not, the benefit usually outweighs the risk. However, it is still important to be able to note what the risks are and what it could potentially mean. Being well informed about the risk that any medicine has is important, but it is even more important to know what the risks are for a drug as important as fertility drugs. Considering how life changing a good fertility drug can be, you might also want to think about the ways that it could negatively impact your life, and this starts with learning about the side effects.

Generally, the most common side effects are going to be bloating, headaches, mood swings, hot flashes, nausea, and tenderness in the breasts. These side effect, while they can be uncomfortable, are usually manageable. It is also important to note that the oral fertility drugs, such as Clomid and Letrozole, will have milder side effects than fertility drugs that you inject, namely gonadotropins and GnRH agonists and antagonists. In addition to the above side effects, a few risks that come with taking fertility drugs are going to be multiple pregnancies, such as having twins or even triplets, and developing a syndrome called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Of course, these are not all the side effects or risks for every form of fertility drug, but they are the most common ones.

What Should You Know About the Side Effects?

Whether you simply want to be more fertile or you are preparing yourself for the best IVF in Bangkok, you will want to prepare yourself for side effects. No two people are going to react in the same exact manner to the same medicine, but what side effects they have usually depend on are the medication you take, the dosage of that medication, and the way your body reacts to it. For example, a higher dosage is going to put you at a higher risk for more side effects than a lower dosage.

Some people will become anxious about anticipating side effects of medication, which will in turn increase the chances that you will experience those side effects that you fear. It is similar to the placebo effect that some people have with medicines, only this time it is negative. You should always talk to your doctor about your medication and the risks that it might have, so this can sometimes help to clear up uncertainties about side effects and risk. Aside from that, if you know that you tend to be prone to feeling anxious about side effects, you might want to focus less on the specific side effects, and more on learning how to cope with side effects in general. Now that you know a little bit more about side effects, you can learn about what certain medications can do.

Side Effects and Risks of Clomid

Clomid is a type of fertility medicine that, in a way, tricks the body into believing that there simply isn’t enough estrogen circulating the body by blocking the receptors that react to estrogen. In turn, your body will also begin believing that there is low estrogen level, and this is where the side effects can come in. These side effects can include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Bloating and abdominal discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding, potentially spotting
  • Dryness of the vagina
  • Breast tenderness

In addition to these side effects, there is also a very small chance that you could develop blurred vision. This generally occurred in less than 1.5% of women during the clinical trials, but if this does happen to you, you should notify your doctor as soon as you can. There is also about a 7 in 100 chance that Clomid will lead to twins.

Side Effects and Risks of Letrozole

Letrozole can be used as a fertility drug, but off-label. While it is traditionally used for the treatment of breast cancer, it works in a similar way to Clomid. Women who have PCOS or are resistant to Clomid might have better chances when they try Letrozole. The side effects for this drug can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Hot flashes
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bloating and abdominal discomfort
  • Breast pain
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding, potentially spotting

With Letrozole, there is some risk of having vision disturbances, as well as the chance that you might conceive twins. The chances of conceiving twins is about the same as with Clomid.

Side Effects and Risks of Gonadotropins

This is where the injectable fertility drugs come into play. Gonadotropins, as well as other injectable fertility drugs, can be used in combination with other drugs during an IVF cycle, though this is up to you. Some of the side effects of gonadotropins include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Acne
  • Dizziness
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding, potentially spotting
  • Soreness/redness at the injection site

The chance of having twins on gonadotropins, compared to Clomid and Letrozole, is significantly higher. In fact, up to 30% of people who try gonadotropins can have multiples. However, if you do not want twins or triplets and you are going with IVF, you can consider a single embryo transfer to reduce the chances that you will have twins. Gonadotropins also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancies. If you have severe pelvic pain while taking gonadotropins, you need to contact a doctor immediately, as this can be life threatening.

Side Effects and Risks of GnRH Agonists (Lupron)

GnRH agonists, such as Lupron, are some of the most common fertility drugs that women use during the IVF treatment. They will shut down the body’s natural reproductive system, which makes it easier for your doctor to control ovarian stimulation and maturation. Because your body’s natural reproductive system has shut down, the reason these side effects might occur is because of the low estrogen:

  • Mood swings, possibly depression or anxiety
  • Headache
  • Acne
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • General body aches or joint pains
  • Fluid retention
  • Weight gain
  • Dryness in the vagina
  • Soreness at the injection site

Side Effects and Risks of GnRH Antagonists

Similar to GnRH agonists, the antagonists do the exact same thing to your body’s reproductive system, but this time, it is with fewer side effects. This makes it an optimal choice if you do not want to deal with as many side effects. These side effects can include the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding, potentially spotting
  • Soreness at the injection site

How Can You Manage Side Effects?

Your doctor is going to be by your side throughout the way, especially if you are going through with IVF treatment. If you ever have any questions, concerns, or uncertainties, you should never hesitate to ask. It is your right to know about what you are putting into your body and what it can potentially do to you. If you want to know how to reduce and cope with side effects, your doctor will be more than happy to work with you, as he or she wishes for you to have a problem-free pregnancy.

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