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Can I Reduce the Side Effects of Fertility Drugs?

What can I do to offset some of the side effects of fertility drugs?
ByWayne S. Maxson, MD, medical director, reproductive endocrinologist, and founder, IVF Florida Reproductive Associates
Fertility Specialist
Updated
Mar 2017
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Making a baby is generally fun — except if you need the help of some fertility drugs, whose side effects can range from generally mild to downright miserable. Side effects vary depending on the type of medicine you’re taking. Chlomiphene citrate, for example (best known by the drug names  Clomid or serophene), is one of the most common medicines for stimulating ovulation, but its side effects can include hot flashes, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches, depression, mood swings and ovarian cysts. Other medicine, like Lupron, can send you into a temporary state of menopause, complete with hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia and headaches. Talk to your doctor about using the lowest dose possible of the medicine to minimize these side effects. There are also some medications that can reduce the symptoms, from antidepressants to acetaminophen (aka Tylenol). Unfortunately, there’s little evidence to support taking herbs like black cohosh or Siberian ginseng, although you’ll find them touted on some websites as a cure-all for certain side effects. Some women find acupuncture is helpful in managing some of the stress and anxiety surrounding fertility treatments. Taking a walk or doing some other moderate exercise can also help. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns, and seek out support either with your family and friends or with a support group of your peers. The good news is that most side effects go away pretty soon after you’ve stopped taking the drugs, so you can hopefully focus on a healthy  pregnancy and not the treatments that got you there.

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