Ovulation is important for a pregnancy to occur and takes place every month for most women. It is the release of a mature egg from the ovaries. Inside the ovaries lie numerous ovarian follicles. The follicles are tiny sacs which hold the eggs. On the first day of menstrual cycle, a few follicles and eggs start to develop and mature. After about two weeks, the most mature egg burst from its follicle and out of your ovary, at times two eggs may be released. The fallopian tube picks the egg(s); fertilization occurs if a viable sperm is present. The fertilized egg travels along into the womb and implantation may take place. However, some women may not ovulate every month. Below are factors which may contribute to ovulation problems such as:
- Being overweight or underweight
- Problems with thyroid
- Hormonal disorders
- Drug abuse or alcohol
- Health problems such as cysts, tumors, or other masses
Challenges with ovulation may make it hard to conceive. Ovulation difficulties are among the most common causes of infertility. Thus, consult a fertility specialist if you have irregular periods or unable to become pregnant. Once he confirms you have anovulation, he can prescribe fertility medication for ovulation such as Clomid or Femara fertility drug. But what does Femara do for fertility?
Femara and Fertility
A Femara tablet contains Letrozole as the active ingredient and belongs to a class of medication called aromatase inhibitors. It is taken for five days starting on the third or the fifth day of the menstrual cycle. It works by stopping the action of an enzyme in your body termed as aromatase enzyme. The aromatase enzyme takes part in the production of estrogen, which is a female sex hormone. Fertility drug Femara blocks the action of aromatase enzyme; thereby estrogen production is suppressed in a woman. This causes the pituitary gland located in the brain to increase the output of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). If a female has anovulation or polycystic ovary syndrome a rise of FSH triggers the development of a mature follicle and an egg in the ovary. This process is known as ovulation induction. After taking the medication as directed, the physician schedule for an ultrasound or a blood test on the 12th day through the 15th day of the monthly cycle; this is to determine if the medication has been successful. If satisfied by the progress, the doctor will recommend having sexual intercourse from day 12 to 20 at least once per day to increase the probability of becoming pregnant.
It’s crucial to note that a woman already ovulating on her own on Femara fertility treatment may result in the development and maturation of multiple follicles as well as eggs. This is termed as superovulation and this explains why this medication for fertility is used in assisted reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination. The release of more than one egg increases chances of conception as compared to a single egg being released in the natural cycle. Nonetheless, a patient should be prepared for multiple pregnancy, especially twins. A multiple pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy because of the following complications:
- Preterm labor or delivery
- Low birth weight
- Gestational diabetes
- Placental abruption
- Fetal loss
- Cesarean section
To improve the drug fertility success rate, it is combined with other fertility drugs such as HCG. The medicine may be inappropriate for a woman with primary ovarian failure or who have blocked fallopian tubes. As earlier mentioned, Clomiphene Citrate is an example of an ovulation drug which may be used.
Femara VS Clomid
Clomid is a popular drug in fertility clinics and works by blocking the estrogen receptors. So, the pituitary gland releases more FSH, leading to ovulation stimulation. It has been in existence for many years, whereas Femara is a relatively new drug in this field. Clomid is taken for five days as well. Some women may not respond to the drug and this is when Femara comes in. Interestingly, one may ovulate while on Clomid but conception doesn’t occur, to boost chances of becoming pregnant, the fertility specialist may prescribe this medication. For females with polycystic ovary syndrome, Femara may be more effective than Clomiphene to induce ovulation.
From the above, it’s clear that both medications work in a similar manner, the pregnancy rates are almost the same, none is superior or better than the other. The only slight difference, however, is the time each drug stays in one’s system before it clears. The drug has a short lifespan in your body; it completely clears out of the system within a few days. On the other hand, Clomid may stay in the body for some time, which isn’t good; it may take almost six weeks. Therefore, it can result in unfavorable effects on a woman, for example on the cervical mucus and the uterine lining. Remember cervical mucus is essential to nourish and protect the sperm as it travels through the fallopian tube to meet the egg for fertilization. Also, after conception, implantation occurs in the uterine lining. Does this mean while on Femara for fertility you won’t experience undesirable effects?
You are at risk of being faced with the unwanted effects because of reduced estrogen in the body. Femara side effects fertility may include:
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Blurred vision
- Stomach upset
- Unusual menstrual bleeding
- Breast pain
Fatigue and dizziness are the most common unfavorable effects on Femara for fertility. If any of the negative effects are bothersome, contact the doctor. One is at risk of developing OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) while on the therapy, although it is very rare. It’s clear this drug has undesired effects, but compared with Clomid side effects, it has a better profile.
You have the basic information on Femara and fertility treatment. Use the drug as prescribed and inform the doctor in case of an overdose. The medical care provider may prescribe the drug for other use apart from dealing with infertility such as:
- For cancer management and prevention – if a patient has cancer which depends on estrogen to spread like breast cancer. Lower levels of estrogen starve cancer cells, thus stopped from growing.
- To treat endometriosis – the medicine is taken continuously for six months to reduce pelvic pain.