Infertility is always an emotionally charged subject. Everyone is aware of the difficulties placed on someone who cannot easily conceive. However, when you think of infertility, you most likely envision a woman. But infertility is a condition affecting both men and women. According to the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, one-third of infertility issues are a result of male reproductive issues.
Thankfully, just like women, men have IVF drugs available. Through the use of IVF medications, many men suffering from infertility may be able to have children. Drugs like Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid), hCG and hMG, and Anastrazole are offered to men with infertility issues. However, it’s important to always read up on a drug before taking it. Side effects resulting from a regimen of fertility drugs are a real possibility.
What is Clomiphene Citrate?
Clomiphene Citrate, one of the most popular male infertility drugs, is an estrogen blocker. Estrogen is a hormone that targets the pituitary gland. Increases in estrogen indicate to the pituitary gland to lower the amount of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). If both LH and FHS levels drop, less testosterone is produced, leading to a decrease in the viability and production of sperm. Clomid blocks estrogen from acting on the pituitary gland, resulting in the increase of testosterone production via an increase of LH and FSH. Higher levels of testosterone circulating in the body will lead to a higher rate of spermatogenesis to increase your sperm count.
Is Clomid a Male-Only Infertility Drug?
No, Clomid is traditionally prescribed to women. Clomiphene citrate has a similar pathway to estrogen in the body. When women take Clomid, the increase in LH and FSH encourage ovulation to release eggs. An increase in the release of eggs increases fertility in women who experience irregular ovulation.
How Well Does Clomid Work in Males?
Research into the efficacy of prescribing Clomid to males is still ongoing. In 2015, a scientific review stated males who took Clomid for infertility issues had mixed results. The main problem with the prescription of Clomid is the dosage. Due to a lack of research at present, no unified dosage has been agreed upon. Other studies focusing on Clomid suggest a dosage between 12.5 and 400 milligrams per day. In addition to failure to agree on a dosage, there is no agreed length of treatment for men taking Clomid. Despite the issues with deriving a regimented plan for Clomid, many men have reported a boost in fertility while taking Clomid. It is always advised to speak with your specialist who can prescribe you the most accurate dose and length of treatment.
When Is Taking Clomid Advised?
Due to the lack of research allocated for Clomid, many doctors must prescribe men the drug off-label. Off-label refers to any application of a medication for something other than its intended use. Clomid is an approved fertility drug and is not considered excessively dangerous but the use on males is still not very well understood. Typically, doctors prescribe men Clomid if all other infertility treatments are unsuccessful and the benefits outweigh potential risks. If you are looking into taking Clomid, it is imperative to speak in-depth with your physician to understand all risks, no matter how rare the risks are. If you have just started infertility discussions, then Clomid should not be the first drug assigned to you. Ask questions if it is.
What Are The Side Effects of Clomid?
Continual use of Clomid can result in both negative and positive side effects. If you are taking Clomid, you may notice potential negative side effects like pectoral tenderness, acne, or irritability. Very rare but serious side effects are the possibility to accelerate existing prostate cancer growth or swell your pituitary gland to alter your field of vision.
Despite the negative side effects, many men on Clomid report positive side effects from the drug. For example, men taking Clomid report increases in sex drive, energy, muscle mass, and weight loss. It is important to note nearly all side effects are reversible by discontinuing the use of Clomid and notifying your doctor right away.
What Is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) and Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG)?
On average, men who find Clomid to be ineffective can turn to hCG and hMG. Both drugs are administered via injection and operate similar to Clomid. Both hCG and hMG will stimulate the testes to increase testosterone levels. The sharp increase in testosterone will improve spermatogenesis. Typically patients will start with hCG alone but if no sperm is detected despite appropriate T production, hMG may be added into the regimen.
If a male suffers from Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, this method of treatment is often effective. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism occurs when the testicles fail to produce testosterone. Typically patients will start with hCG alone but if no sperm is detected despite appropriate T production, hMG may be added into the regimen.
What is Anastrazole/ Arimidex?
Anastrazoleis part of the Aromataste Inhibitor family. It was initially prescribed for the treatment of breast cancer. However, the drug also is an excellent male infertility drug.Typically, Anastrazole is prescribed as a once daily oral tablet. It works by preventing testosterone from converting to estradiol once it enters tissues. Estradiol is a type of estrogen and is the most potent estrogen produced in the body. In high levels, can affect sperm cells in men. By blocking an enzyme called aromatase, Anastrazole assists testosterone with avoiding the conversion process. As the amount of estradiol lowers in the body, the levels of testosterone will increase spermatogenesis.
The potential risks for men taking Anastrazole or any Aromatase inhibitor is the effect on bone metabolism. Bone Mineral Density (BMD) can be affected with the use of aromatase inhibitors, usually decreasing. One study reported a decrease of BMD levels in the spines of elderly men on aromatase inhibitors. Though it’s worth mentioning many studies conducted with aromatase inhibitors do not yield results supporting detrimental effects on bone.
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