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? According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, clomiphene, aka, Clomid, “is in a class of medications called ovulatory stimulants.” 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 (in-vitro fertilization) 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 multiple follicles to ovulate.
Clomid is the name for the medication clomifene or clomiphene. Clomid use began in the 1960s and has been used on millions 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
- 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 mucus 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, as this will bring about the greatest reproductive health.
Clomid cannot solve poor egg health, PCOS, or amenorrhea, etc. 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…
- Eat a nourishing Fertility Diet
- Exercise regularly
- Implement a Stress Reduction plan
- Consider Supportive Fertility Herbs
- Practice Fertility Massage
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.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
Maca promotes hormonal balance overall, and 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.
Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)
Tribulus may normalize ovulation in infertile women when used prior to ovulation. In her text Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, physician, midwife, and herbalist Dr. Aviva Romm shares of 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 out of Islamic Azad University in Iran, showed that this herb promotes normal ovarian function and the reduction in ovarian cysts. Tribulus has also been found to reduce antisperm antibodies.
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. Shatavari is a supportive female reproductive health tonic. Supports healthy cervical mucous production.
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 given 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 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, 70% 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…
Too learn more about related subjects covered in this article, please visit the following links:
- The Downside of Clomid. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.womens-health.co.uk/downside-of-clomid.html
- Infertility – EPublications. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.html
- Dehghan, A., Esfandiari, A., & Bigdeli, S. M. (2012). Alternative treatment of ovarian cysts with Tribulus terrestris extract: A rat model. Reproduction in domestic animals, 47(1), e12-e15. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1439-0531.2011.01877.x
- Romm, Aviva. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis, Missouri: Churchill Livingstone.
- Dr. Marcus (n.d.). Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Retrieved from http://www.ivf-infertility.com/ivf/standard/complications/ovarian_stimulation/ohss.php
- Clomiphene. (22, 0ctober 2018). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682704.html
- Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance — United States, 2009. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6107a1.htm