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Fertility Drugs - Risks and Usage

Fertility DrugsInfertility is a rather large problem in the United States. Many couples try for months or years to conceive, only to have their hopes dashed over and over again. At this point is when quite a lot of these couples turn to fertility treatments.

After running the gamut of fertility tests to try to determine the cause(s) of a couple’s infertility, doctors often prescribe fertility drugs in order to help a woman get pregnant.

Many fertility drugs are designed to stimulate ovulation. A lot of women suffer from ovulation disorders, so these drugs work to either regulate or induce ovulation. They do this by releasing follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These drugs are made to work this way because many women who have trouble with ovulation have low levels of FSH and LH; therefore, releasing more of these hormones can be quite helpful in getting women to ovulate.

Using fertility drugs, however, does carry one well-known risk. As most people are aware, women who take fertility drugs are more likely to get pregnant with multiples than the average person. Now, the risk of twins and other multiples is not too much greater with oral medications. But, with injectable medications the risk jumps up to about 20%. Most doctors try to be careful about drug dosages and when medications are given so as to lower the multiples risk.

Side effects from fertility drugs tend to be minor most of the time. Some women report that the drugs have caused them to feel fatigue, mood swings, and muscle aches. Rarely, women have reported nausea or vomiting as well as lower abdominal pain and swelling.

Less than 5% of women who take fertility drugs may develop a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This condition is quite rare in older women—it is mostly seen in younger women, especially among those who have polycystic ovaries. Women who report the rare side effects described above may be suspected to have this condition and should be examined by their doctor. Patients may need to stop taking the fertility drugs. They may also, in about 1% of cases, need to have some fluid removed as an out-patient procedure. In very rare cases, a woman may need to stay in the hospital.

Most of the time, fertility drugs work as they are supposed to, helping women to ovulate and increasing the chances of pregnancy. Used in conjunction with fertility testing, they can prove to be quite effective for many couples.

 
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