Over the years I have come to learn that fertility medications can be a blessing and a curse.
They are a huge blessing because they help infertile couples (like myself) in their journey to become pregnant.
But they can be a curse because of the nasty side effects they bring. And to be blunt- those side effects can be quite awful and debilitating. But no matter what, we do them, and we power through because we are strong and brave and would do anything to have a baby, am I right?
Whether you are doing IVF or trying to regulate your monthly cycle, if you are trying for a baby through the help of your doctor, chances are you will be on fertility medication at some point.
Every infertile couple is different. Because of this, there are several factors that go into the prescribing of fertility medications.. My IVF medications were different than friends of mine who went through the same thing. I took different pills and less shots than others might have. There are a lot of side effects that come with the medications prescribed to patients and sometimes the list can go on and on.
Side effects to certain fertility medications, according to AmericanPregnancy.org are:
Potential side effects include:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased breast size
- Painful intercourse
- Bone density loss
- Chance of multiple births
- Nasal congestion
- Decreased blood pressure
I would like to share the side effects I had with some of the medications given to me during our two rounds of IVF and the 14 rounds of IUI we have done.
I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical background. I am simply sharing my experiences with these medications as prescribed to me by my doctor. Please consult your physician for any serious questions or concerns about medication you might be taking.
While on Clomid I experienced crazy mood swings. At first I didn’t think Clomid affected me. However, after months of being on it, I noticed how emotional it really did make me. I would suggest finding a good support system of family or friends to help you while you are on this medication. It was helpful for me to have people surrounding me who validated why I was feeling this way. Remember- you really aren’t crazy! Please take care of yourself emotionally and find ways to cope with the emotional roller coaster you might experience while on this medication.
Metformin was prescribed to me for our first round of IVF. This medication made me feel very sick. I was often bloated, gassy, extra tired and had a loss of appetite. I lost about six pounds while on this medication, but I am not sure if it was worth the discomfort I felt while on it. After my body got used to it, the side effects subsided, but for about three weeks I felt extremely nauseous. I felt like I had “morning sickness” just without the bonus of having a baby. I found myself taking mid-afternoon naps constantly and I had a huge loss of energy. Before starting this medication I was active and would work out at the gym 3-5 days a week. Being on Metformin, and the other combination of meds made it difficult for me to stay active. I took that time to enjoy being able to relax and rest more. It might be hard to let your activity level take a back seat- but listen to your body and do what it is telling you.
Pregnitude was not my friend. This was by far, my least favorite supplement to take. It is a vitamin I was told to take by my doctor twice a day. It came in a powder form that I then mixed with 8 oz. of water. This was hard for me to do for some reason. I often had to force it down each time, and it made me feel very sick whenever I took it. I don’t think I ever adjusted to it. I took a picture with my last packet to document how excited I was to be done with it!
Gonal-F was a shot I took during our first round of IVF to prepare for our egg transfer. This one did not hurt very much. It was a smaller needle and quite bearable.
Menopur was a second injection shot I took during IVF. This shot hurt more than the Gonal-F. Side effects from all the shots I was given were: bloating, tenderness at the injection site, and bruising. The tenderness felt like I just did 100 sit ups. The pain, bruising and tenderness lasted weeks after the shots ended.
Cetrotide was a third shot I was given. Like the other two, the only side effects I had were the bloating, tenderness and bruising. I got used to the shots and the pain that came with the injection. In my case, I was so excited to be doing it that I often looked forward to that part of my day. I think going into it with a grateful heart truly made a difference.
I hope this information helps someone who might be beginning the IVF process or other fertility treatments. Please share in the comments the side effects YOU experienced.