Clomid: Natural Alternatives to Clomid

Clomid: Natural Alternatives to Clomid

For women facing infertility due to anovulation (lack of ovulation), or irregular ovulation, due to PCOS or other fertility issues, Clomid is often one of the first fertility medications suggested by doctors. Why? This drug is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). It increases production of gonadotropins (hormones released by the pituitary gland) by inhibiting negative feedback on the hypothalamus. It is used for ovarian hyperstimulation for IVF preparation, and to stimulate and regulate ovulation in women with anovulatory cycles. It is most commonly used for women with PCOS.

To make a long story short- this drug forces the body to ovulate, sometimes stimulating ovulation of multiple follicles.

Clomid is the name for the medication clomifene or clomiphene. Clomid use began in the 1960s and has been used on thousands of women. This long history of use gives us a clear picture of common side effects. The use of Clomid comes with the possibility of the following common side effects:

  • multiple births
  • enlarged ovaries
  • pain and bloating in the abdomen/pelvis
  • headache
  • nausea
  • mid-cycle spotting
  • heavy menstrual bleeding

Other side effects include mood swings, headaches, fatigue, and breast tenderness. In approximately 30% of women taking Clomid, their cervical mucous will become hostile to sperm, thereby preventing conception.

There are many other rare side effects, including possibility of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and ovarian rupture. The risk for this goes up with each subsequent round of use.

Natural Alternatives to Clomid

If you are reading this article it is probably because you are considering using Clomid or have used it in the past. It may be that you are preparing to go for IVF. But the main reason you are here is because you want to know if there are natural alternatives to Clomid. After all we are dedicated to bringing you the best information on natural therapies for fertility. We want you to be the most vibrant and healthy person you can be. Sometimes despite our best intentions in life, we still end up going for medical fertility treatments and you know what, that is okay! But before you go down that road, consider the best alternatives to Clomid, ways to naturally bring about ovulation and a regular menstrual cycle.

Before beginning Clomid think about your long-term health. While Clomid may help you get pregnant right away, it does not solve the root of the problem. Have you asked yourself, “Why am I not ovulating?” Fertility Herbs work with the body, to bring about real change long-term. This benefits your fertility health in the long run. The overall goal would be to support the overall health of the body, this will bring about the greatest reproductive health.

Clomid cannot solve poor egg health, PCOS, amenorrhea, ect. It is a once a month stimulation drug, which you must go back for each cycle, in hopes that the stimulation will make you to ovulate. Even before you choose to use Clomid, you will increase your chances of successful conception by preparing the body for pregnancy by following a simple, natural protocol for 3-6 months prior to trying to conceive…

Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)
Tribulus may normalize ovulation in infertile women when used prior to ovulation. One study performed on 36 women who were not ovulating, showed that that 67% realized normal ovulation after only 2-3 months of consistent use. Tribulus has also been found to be a nourishing tonic for the female reproductive system as a whole, especially concerning the ovaries. Rat studies showed that this herb promotes normal ovarian function and reduction in ovarian cysts. Tribulus has also been found to reduce antisperm antibodies.

Vitex also known as Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex agnus-castus)
The berry of this small tree has been found to help normalize ovulation. Vitex supports hormonal balance in the body by having an effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (hormonal feedback loop), correcting the problem at the source. Vitex has been used to reduce Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) with great results. This herb takes time to be effective, but works to normalize the entire menstrual cycle, not force ovulation.

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
Shatavari’s main constituents are steroidal-sapponins, suggesting its use as an estrogen regulator, the estrogen modulating in turn may contribute to menstrual cycle regulation. This plant has shown to protect the body from stressors, including stress related infertility issues. It combines well with Tribulus terrestris. Shatavari is a supportive female reproductive health tonic. Supports healthy cervical mucous production.

Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
Maca promotes hormonal balance overall, is nourishing to the endocrine system, which controls hormone function. This herb has been shown safe to combine with all the herbs on this page.

Pregnancy Prep Herbal Blend
This herbal formula is specific for women who want to support their reproductive health, improve timing of ovulation, increase uterine health, promote circulation to the reproductive organs, while normalizing progesterone levels. It contains Tribulus, Vitex, Maca and a variety of other supportive herbs. To learn more about this herbal blend click here…

Can Clomid be Combined With Herbs for Fertility?

No. We do not recommend using any herbs for fertility during a fertility medication cycle. A cycle is about one month, or one menstrual cycle. Even if you are using a fertility medication for only one part of your cycle, we do not suggest using any herbs for fertility during other times in that same cycle. Clomid is usually give for 5 days in the beginning of the cycle to stimulate ovulation. Just because you are not taking it for a full cycle, it is best to not use any herbs for fertility in that same cycle.

Plan ahead. If you are thinking of starting a fertility medication, make your doctor appointment for about a month after weaning yourself off of the herbs you are taking. Continuing a multivitamin, cod liver oil, whey protein powder and spirulina would be fine.

Clomid and IVF

The use of Clomid for IVF as part of ART (artificial reproductive technology) is also a common practice. Let us consider for a moment that IVF is usually an infertile couples last choice. How successful is ART?

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s 2009 report on ART of all couples who have gone through ART, only 37% led to pregnancy. 30% resulted in live birth. This means that of the successful ART pregnancies, 19% did not result in live birth. These statistics are not based per woman, they are calculated per new cycle and do not reflect how many ART cycles a woman may have gone through. Consider this, of the 102,478 ART cycles started in 2009, 30,787 resulted in live births. Again, this is where thoughtful natural fertility planning can help to increase chances of a successful IVF. We want you to have not only successful conception, but a healthy pregnancy and birth. To learn the best ways to prepare for IVF, click here…

References:
1. http://www.womens-health.co.uk/downside-of-clomid.html
2. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.cfm
3. http://www.ivf-infertility.com/ivf/standard/complications/ovarian_stimulation/ohss.php
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clomifene
5. http://www.cdc.gov/AR T/AR T2009

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[-] 32 Comments
  1. Hi there! I am 24 yrs old and a PCOS patient. I am 1 year married and we wanted to have a baby but then my health condition affects my ovulation. I feel dry always and I think that I am not ovulating at all. If I take Clomid how long will it take for me to have a baby?

    • Dear Ivy,

      I am sorry there I do not know how long it will take you to conceive after taking Clomid and I don’t know if your doctor would be able to answer this either. Taking Clomid does not ensure ovulation, conception, or a healthy pregnancy. It is a medication that works for some and causes further hormonal imbalance for others.

      We feel it much more beneficial to address diet and lifestyle in order to support he body is re-learning balance and managing PCOS. Once dietary and lifestyle changes have been made, women tend to see better results from the herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies they try. PCOS is known as a complex endocrine system disorder, but can be managed well when a commitment to changing diet and lifestyle is made.

      It may help to learn how to support the body in re-learning balance by promoting healthy hormonal balance, a healthy uterine lining, regular ovulation, improved estrogen metabolism, reduced cravings for sweets and improved digestion. The article How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs will help you do that.

      All my best!

  2. I am 31 and have recently been diagnosed with Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism after not having a period in almost 2 years. I got my period naturally late-ish in life (16 years old) and was pretty irregular until I was 19 and started birth control pills. I was on the pill for 10 years and then, when I stopped taking it, never got my period again. My fertility specialist told me that in order to get pregnant, I will need fertility treatment because there is no way that my brain will naturally send FSH to my uterus to begin ovulation. I can’t help but believe that there is a natural way to restart that connection. Thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    • Dear Carolyn,

      I’m sorry to hear about your struggles and challenges at such a young age!

      The ability for herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies alone, to as you say “restart that connection,” may depend on the cause of the Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism. Given possible causes and the complexity of this fertility health issue, it may be best to seek the one on one support of a natural healthcare provider, like a naturopathic doctor, near you.

      Consider also working with our Fertility Herbalist through a Fertility Consultation. This is one way to have created for you an holistic natural fertility program based on your specific fertility health needs.

      Don’t give up hope!

  3. I am interested in the herbs. I am 30, I have Anovulatory ovulation. Very frustrating when trying to conceive. It’s hard not to be stressed with failed attempts, work and school. We have reservations about using Clomid as we like to go the most natural route. Any advice would be great. Thank you :)

  4. I would like to take clomid- however I am afraid of the effects it will have on me and my baby. I also really want to take it to have twins. Are you aware of the side effects of Clomid? Are there any herbs that will stimulate ovulation to release more than 1 egg?
    Thanks!

    • Dear Kourtnie,

      Clomid is a drug that helps to induce and regulate ovulation and is usually prescribed for women with anovulation.

      Yes, Clomid can have adverse side effects. Some of these side effects are mood swings, headaches, fatigue and breast tenderness. More alarming side effects are that
      – in approximately 30% of women taking Clomid, their cervical mucus will become hostile to sperm
      – it has been shown to cause a thin uterine lining
      – the action of Clomid on estrogen levels can also prevent natural ovulation in future cycles
      – Clomid can stay in the body for 6 weeks or so after it’s use is stopped and this may be longer depending on how long Clomid is used

      Each of the above side effects may prevent actually prevent conception.

      It is a myth that there are fertility foods and herbs that will help a woman conceive multiples. Consider reading our article Are There Natural Remedies to Help a Woman Conceive Twins?

      There are 5 Simple Ways to Promote Regular Ovulation that also promote overall fertility health that you may be interested in learning about as well.

      I hope this is helpful and that you will reconsider using Clomid when if it is not needed.

      All the best!

  5. Hi there
    I am 40 years old and my last periods was in May 2014. My last time i had a child was in 1996, now i am desperately want a child for my husband. Please advise me what can i use to make me pregant.

    Thanx

    • Dear Nokwindla,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      It may first help you to understand what led to or may be contributing to your absent period through testing with your healthcare provider. Knowing the cause will help you know how to best support your body in relearning balance.

      Another great place to start learning how to naturally support your body is through our guide on How To Get Your Period Back.

      All the best!

  6. Hello. I was reading this, and wondering how long I should stop taking the fertility herbs before treatment with Clomid. Last time I used Clomid it resulted in an ectopic pregnancy, and the doctor wants me to use it again next time. I was taking Fertility Blend (fertilityblend.com) up until about 4 days before I started the Clomid, I felt like this was a bit close, but I completely forgot I was taking it. Next time I don’t want to take any risks, I’ve already got a 1:10 chance of another ectopic anyway. I’m expecting a parcel from you any day soon, going to start with the cleanse and go from there, so next time I may be taking your mix. How long do I stop before the Clomid?

    • Dear JW,

      I am so sorry this was your experience.

      We actually do not know if hormone regulating herbs will interact negatively with Clomid or IVF medications. It is because of this that we have to suggest that the two not be mixed. Any herbs and supplements that have an affect upon the hormonal system should be discontinued once you begin your medications. There are no hard and fast rules about the number of days, but because you are concerned, consider discontinuing two weeks prior to starting any medication.

      It may interest you to learn about natural alternatives to clomid as well.

      Best wishes!

  7. Hi there! I’m 27 and TTC, recently diagnosed with PCOS. I talked to my OB and asked if she would give me Clomid, she refused to. First she gave me Provera to induce my period. She asked me to lose 15lbs (I am now 120lbs. She wants me to be 103-105lbs only) and is hoping that I can ovulate naturally. I’m concerned about her approach. It seems that we are not treating my PCOS right. I really want to get pregnant soon. In my culture, 27 is kind of old for getting pregnant.

    • Dear Leslie,

      I will be honest, I personally don’t have a great understanding of how cultural beliefs (other than the American culture) impact a couple’s efforts to conceive naturally. It is a grey area for me and I desire to learn more. That being said, I am sorry you feel pressure at the age of 27, as we feel this is still young and that there is time to take not only to support your reproductive system health, but also to conceive.

      Irregardless, it may take some time to support your body in re-learning hormonal balance. We feel it is important to consider not only support healthy ovarian function, but also a healthy uterine lining, improved estrogen metabolism, and a reduction cravings for sweets and improved digestion and weight management.

      The goal of our programs is to support the body in re-learning balance and/or supporting balance when fertility issues are present. The great part about herbs, supplements and natural therapies is that they often work wonders in doing this given commitment to dietary and lifestyle change is made as well.

  8. Hi there! I am 38 and new here… I would like to ask a few things… I had a lap in August due to my endometriosis, the surgery went well, but doctor could not see whether my tubes were open, did a dye test a fews weeks later and the result came through as all fine, however since having this test I have not ovulated (as confirmed by the blood test) and I am now left in despair because my GP can not referrer me to a fertility clinic due to not being registered with them for a year… I am now going through an acupuncture treatment started 3 weeks ago and the practitioner gave me some herbs to stimulate my ovulation, however, from the OPK’s nothing has happened yet…

    My question is, how can I start ovulating naturally?? I was fine before surgery and now it’s this… Or should I have patience and wait for the herbs to work?
    Thank you

    • Dear Lily,

      Patience is key! If you are currently working with a healthcare practitioner and they have you on a program, it is best to follow that program for the suggested amount of time before you change it or start a different program. Health results take time to appear in general 1-3 months.

      This being said, consider also learning 5 Simple Ways to Promote Regular Ovulation from our perspective. It would be best to speak with your acupuncturist if you are interested in taking any herb or nutritional supplement you read about.

      Wishing for you patience and ease as you continue to support your fertility health!

  9. I’m 41 and have been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. Basically, I have started the menopause. What herbs can you recommend to restore ovulation?

  10. Hi,
    I would like to know what I can take to ensure that I ovulate mature follicles. I have very regular cycles and the doctor confirmed that I do ovulate but my follicles don’t fully mature. We successfully conceived on our first clomid/IUI cycle but I would like to try naturally this time around. Please advise. Thank you.

  11. iam in Kenya,Mombasa region..where do i get these herbs

  12. How to I get the herbs am in Nigeria

  13. Hi,
    I have small follicles on my ovaries and all ultrasounds are negative for problems or cysts. My periods are very irregular. I have been trying to get pregnant with my husband for one year. My doctor doesn’t think I’m ovulating. What herbs would you suggest for me? I currently take a prenatal, biotin and fish oil daily. Will these interact with any herbs??

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hi Alysia!
      You can take a prenatal multivitamin, biotin and an omega supplement (fish oil) with herbs. This article details herbs that you might try. We have found that your body better responds to a natural fertility program if you first do a Fertility Cleanse. It may benefit you to learn more about Biphasic Herbal Formulas to support the proper timing of your entire menstrual cycle and hormone balance.
      You may also want to consider a Natural Fertility Consultation if you are still unsure of where to start. Our Natural Fertility Consultations provide you with a personalized written guide and audio recording describing to the best natural therapies, herbs and supplements for your unique fertility issues.
      Be Well!

  14. Dear Dalene,
    this is my second post on your site the first was early in this month, kindly do check that in order to review my history.
    Today i have been to my fertility Dr and she told me the cyst they have removed last november was not endometrosis that was only normal cyst.
    Now she prescribed me to start taking clomid D2-D6 from my next cycle.
    but currently i am taking vitex since 2 months, Maca and evening prime rose i have started this month. if no luck this month i would be taking clomid from my next cycle plus Dr prescribed some blood test also during clomid cycle.
    My QUESTION here to you is during clomid cycle which herbal medicine i should continue and which should stop..!
    thanks..

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Malika,

      I hope you don’t mind that I answer for Dalene as she is currently out of the office and I want to get you an answer sooner than later.
      We do not advise combining herbs that have an effect on hormonal balance with Clomid. You would want to stop taking Vitex, Maca and Evening Primrose Oil when you begin taking Clomid.

      In health~ Liz

  15. I am currently taking Vitex, and this is only the end of my first month. I was wondering if vitex can be taken in combination with Tribulus or Maca. I really would like to try tribulus, but the vitex has helped me feel much better already so I don’t want to stop that.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Yes, Vitex may be combined with Tribulus and Maca. All three are fine to take at the same time. I am glad to hear you are happy with the way vitex is making you feel in just the first month of use.

      All the best!

  16. Hi ,
    I ‘m 43 year old now . I want to have another baby . What should I do or take?
    Thanks..