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Treating infertility with medications

Posted by CarePoint Health on Jun 3, 2015 1:00:00 PM

infertility treatmentFor couples trying to have a baby, infertility can be an unexpected and difficult obstacle. Finding out that you can’t get pregnant right away can be emotionally draining, and talking about it with friends and family is not always easy. As a result, many couples feel isolated or lonely during the process of trying to conceive.

Infertility is typically defined as having unprotected sex for one year without conceiving. At that time, it’s recommended that both people talk with their physicians, so testing can be done to determine the cause of the infertility. Sometimes a cause can be determined right away, while other times, it may take more evaluation. It’s important to note that infertility can be a result of an issue with either the man or the woman. If there are any issues with the man’s sperm, this issue should be dealt with as well.

Medications for ovulation

If tests determine that the woman is not ovulating, her gynecologist can prescribe a medication to encourage ovulation. This is often a first step in infertility treatment. Ovulation is the process of releasing an egg from the ovary approximately once a month. Once the egg is released, it goes into the fallopian tube, where it is able to be fertilized by a sperm and implanted in the uterus. If this happens, the woman becomes pregnant.

These medications do have side effects, and should be taken exactly as prescribed. Your gynecologist will work with you to find the most effective option for you. Many factors need to be considered, such as your age and any other health conditions. The most common medications to induce ovulation include:

  • Clomiphene citrate (Clomid): This medicine works well for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or other problems with ovulation. It is taken by mouth and is generally well tolerated.
  • Injected medicines: These medicines have to be given by needle and are used for women who don’t ovulate due to pituitary problems or other issues. They include human menopausal gonadotropin (Repronex, Pergonal), follicle-stimulating hormone (Gonal-F, Follistim), and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) analog.
  • Metformin (Glucophage): If you have PCOS, this can help balance the hormones in your body, causing ovulation. It is usually taken by mouth and is sometimes combined with clomiphene citrate or follicle-stimulating hormone.
  • Bromocriptine (Parlodel): If blood tests determine you have high levels of a hormone called prolactin, this medication may be prescribed to address this issue.

Don’t go through infertility alone. If you have been trying to get pregnant for a year without success, talk with your gynecologist. If you’re over the age of 35, talk to your physician if you’ve been trying to conceive for six months. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Gynecology at CarePoint Health

The gynecologists at CarePoint Health understand the challenges faced by couples trying to conceive. Their expertise and compassion has helped many couples throughout this difficult process. If you are having trouble getting pregnant, talk to your gynecologist about your treatment options.

For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.

Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.

Topics: OBGYN, Women's health, Pregnancy, Infertility

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