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Understanding Fertility Problems: Improving Ovulation with MedicationLos problemas de fertilidad: cmo mejorar la ovulacin con medicamentos

Understanding Fertility Problems: Improving Ovulation with Medication

If an evaluation shows you're not ovulating normally, your doctor may prescribe hormone medications. These can help stimulate egg development or trigger ovulation. They can also be used to adjust other hormone levels that affect fertility. In many cases, these medications are used for assisted reproduction treatments.

Stimulating Egg Development

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) medications stimulate the ovaries to produce more mature eggs each month. Be assured that this does not make a woman run out of eggs any faster. Instead, it simply means that more eggs (instead of just one) mature with each cycle.

Triggering Ovulation

Medication called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is used to stimulate ovulation. This helps improve the timing for successful fertilization after sex. It may also be used during assisted reproduction treatments.

Adjusting Other Hormone Levels

To improve ovulation, medications may be prescribed to treat:

  • Polycystic ovaries. An imbalance of insulin (a hormone that controls blood sugar levels) may cause immature eggs to form cysts on the ovaries. In turn, the cysts release male hormones that can prevent ovulation.

  • Prolactin problems. An imbalance of the hormone prolactin can prevent normal ovulation.

  • Thyroid problems. An imbalance of thyroid hormone levels can cause fertility problems or miscarriage.

Types of Medication

The chart below lists common medications prescribed for fertility treatments. Talk with your doctor about how these medications work. Be sure you understand how and when to use them. You should also be aware of the possible side effects. In particular, some medications carry a small but serious risk of enlarged ovaries (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). This requires prompt treatment.


How It Works

How It's Taken

Possible Side Effects

Clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene)

Stimulates egg development


Hot flashes, blurred vision, ovarian cysts, and increased chances of having twins

Follicle stimulating hormone or FSH (Bravelle, Gonal-F, Follistim)

Stimulates the ovaries to produce more mature eggs


Increased chance of multiple births. Small but serious risk of enlarged ovaries

Human menopausal gonadotropin or hMG (Repronex)

Stimulates egg development


Increased chance of multiple births. Small but serious risk of enlarged ovaries

Human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG (Ovidrel, Pregnyl, Novarel )

Triggers ovulation


May aggravate enlarged ovaries when combined with hMG or FSH medications

Dopamine agonists (Parlodel, Dostinex)

Decreases prolactin, a hormone that can prevent ovulation


Nausea, nasal stuffiness, dizziness, and headache

Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid)

Restores thyroid hormones to a normal level


Nervousness, irritability, headache, insomnia, diarrhea, weight loss, and changes in menstruation

Note:This chart is not a complete list of medications and does not imply endorsement of any type or brand. The list does not contain every possible side effect, adverse reaction, precaution, or interaction for these medications. Only your doctor can recommend or prescribe these types of medications.

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Gail Miller Ob/Gyn

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