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Clomid is a popular brand name and nickname for generic clomiphene citrate. It’s an oral fertility medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in women who are unable to become pregnant. It affects the hormone balance within the body and promotes ovulation.
Clomid is only approved by the FDA for use in women, but it’s sometimes prescribed off-label as an infertility treatment in men.
Is Clomid an effective treatment for male infertility? Read on to learn more.
How does Clomid work?
Clomid blocks the hormone estrogen from interacting with your pituitary gland. When estrogen interacts with the pituitary gland, less luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are produced. This leads to a decrease in testosterone and therefore decreased production of sperm. Because Clomid blocks estrogen’s interaction with the pituitary gland, there is an increase in LH, FSH, and testosterone in the body.
Optimal dosing in men hasn’t been established. The dose given can range from 12.5 to 400 milligrams (mg) per day. A recent review recommends starting dosage at 25 mg three days per week and then increasing to a dose of 50 mg per day as needed. High doses of Clomid can actually have a negative effect on sperm count and motility.
When is Clomid prescribed?
Clomid is prescribed off-label for male infertility, particularly where low testosterone levels are observed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both a male and a female factor are identified in 35 percent of couples that struggle to conceive. In 8 percent of couples, only a male factor is identified.
Many things can contribute to infertility in men. These include:
- injury to the testicles
- excess weight or obesity
- heavy use of alcohol, anabolic steroids, or cigarettes
- hormonal imbalance, caused by improper function of the pituitary gland or exposure to too much estrogen or testosterone
- medical conditions, including diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and some types of autoimmune disorders
- cancer treatment involving certain types of chemotherapy or radiation
- varicoceles, which are enlarged veins that cause the testicles to overheat
- genetic disorders, such as a microdeletion in the Y-chromosome or Klinefelter syndrome
- If your doctor suspects male infertility, they’ll order a semen analysis. Your doctor will use a sample of your semen to assess the sperm count as well as sperm shape and movement.