For many parents over the last few decades, fertility drugs and treatments have been the life-changing difference between having a family and not. And at least some of that is thanks to Clomid®.
Clomid is among the medications that, for more than half a century, have helped women become pregnant even if they have conditions that make pregnancy difficult. But Clomid for men can also — potentially — offer benefits to hopeful fathers.
Clomid (clomiphene citrate) causes an increase in the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The result of this is an overall increase in sperm and testosterone production (a.k.a., increased testosterone levels). But seeing the full results can take some time — weeks or months.
Whether you’re here because you’re just curious to learn more about it, whether you’ve recently been prescribed it to treat low testosterone or whether you and your partner are looking at all your options for the fertility issues you’re experiencing, Clomid for low testosterone or male infertility might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
We get it, and we’re glad you’re here. So, let’s start unpacking this.
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Clomiphene citrate for men (sometimes abbreviated to clomiphene for men) is the generic version of Clomid. Clomid is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat infertility in men, meaning that healthcare professionals prescribe this medication for male infertility. It is also sometimes prescribed off label to treat low testosterone in men.
For now, Clomid is only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of two hormonal imbalance-related fertility issues in women. Both of these issues have to do with how the female body ovulates, or releases an egg from the ovary.
Anovulatory infertility (fertility issues having to do with no egg release)
Oligo-ovulatory infertility (fertility issues having to do with irregular egg releases)
These may be caused by a variety of factors, including polycystic ovary syndrome or prior birth control use. Either way, they are very specific types of infertility. In both cases, the cause of infertility is a lack of normal ovulation, and in both cases, Clomid helps induce ovulation.
Brand name Clomid (and clomiphene) is FDA-approved for both of these kinds of infertility. When it comes to men however, there’s less clarity regarding how it’s used and how effective it is.
Clomiphene citrate works by functioning as a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). It acts on certain estrogen receptors in the body in a way that tells the brain to produce more luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which in turn tell the testes to produce more testosterone and sperm.
Using clomiphene citrate for men causes spermatogenesis — literally, your body makes more sperm.
According to research, many patients see an increase in sperm production within about three months of using clomiphene.
This feature has occasionally been used as a performance enhancer by healthy athletes to increase muscle mass by increasing serum testosterone levels.
There’s a fairly straightforward time period where we can say this medication will “kick in” for women, but things are a little less predictable for men.
Because of the length of time it takes for a sperm to be created and used in the ejaculation process, Clomid can take several (as in three to four) months to work. Longer durations could be a reality, too — everyone’s different.
Practically speaking, you’ll begin taking Clomid and have check-ins with your healthcare provider to see how your body is responding to the medication.
Clomid does help infertility in some men, though the outcomes can vary in their timeline.
The most obvious sign that Clomid for fertility is working is that your partner is expecting a child. Besides that, it becomes a little more difficult to assess “working.”
Generally, Clomid is beginning to work if your testosterone levels and/or your sperm count are rising, but again, it can take a few months for that to happen.
A healthcare provider will have to determine whether you’re experiencing hormonal changes and increases in sperm production by giving you assessments.
These are questions you won’t be able to answer immediately, and neither will a healthcare provider. And that’s okay! It’s going to take a lot of patience — something that can be difficult to muster if you’re experiencing side effects all the while.
When determining your dosage, a healthcare provider may give you 25–50mg to start, and increase or decrease your dosage as needed based on indication, lab results and side effects.
Your provider will work with you to figure out the optimal dosing strategy, which may include days on (taking the medication) and days off (not taking the medication).
You may decide with your healthcare provider to continue on the medication until it’s no longer needed (which means different things for different people, of course). If using it for male infertility, that will mean you and your partner successfully getting pregnant.
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Full disclosure: Clomid for men side effects can be pretty rough.
For men specifically, there's some limited research to suggest that Clomid can increase your risk of a testicular tumor. So, if you and your healthcare professional decide Clomid is the right treatment for you, ask about the best way to monitor for one!
That’s on the serious end. However, common side effects of clomiphene include:
Exacerbation of psychiatric diseases
Some of these symptoms can come as the result of “overdose” — and most, like nausea and blurred vision, are dose-dependent and can get worse with increasing dose. So make sure you take Clomid exactly as prescribed. No fuddling around.
Serious side effects of Clomid include:
Severe visual disturbances
If you experience any of these, seek medical attention immediately.
Clomiphene should not be used if you’re dealing with uncontrolled thyroid disease, a pituitary gland tumor or uncontrolled adrenal dysfunction.
Male factor infertility is a complicated condition, and it may result from a number of factors associated with reproductive health. As a result, there’s no one effective treatment that will fix your problems — at least, not one we can recommend right now.
The best course of treatment will be recommended to you by a healthcare professional after they’ve done some significant testing to determine the cause(s) of your infertility.
And heads up: a healthcare professional will readily recommend changes to your lifestyle if there are any areas in which those habits might increase your risk of infertility.
That may include:
Reducing your smoking and alcohol intake
Improving your diet
Cutting back on recreational drugs
Avoiding toxic lubricants
Losing or gaining weight, depending on your BMI.
There are other treatment options to consider as well, although there’s less evidence to support these:
Some research says constrictive underwear and other clothes might be a contributing risk factor to infertility in men. While we’re not convinced that it can be a primary cause of infertility, it may be an additional level of protection if you’re struggling to conceive.
“Treatment” may also take the form of simply doing nothing. If you’re reading this article because you or your partner are experiencing infertility issues, we know that “doing nothing” can sound unbearable. That’s completely understandable!
Keep the conversation open with your healthcare provider and trust their guidance. Good things take time.
Clomid can be an effective alternative to testosterone replacement therapy for the treatment of low testosterone, and it can have fewer side effects.
If you’re experiencing male infertility or are in need of fertility treatments for low sperm count, addressing the problem is the first step to finding the solution that works for you.
And before you take action, remember these few pieces of wisdom:
Male infertility is nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s not representative of your masculinity, nor is it something you’re responsible for. It’s just a health condition standing between you and the family you want.
You can do something about it. Talking to a healthcare professional about your concerns, sharing any health issues or details about how long you’ve been trying to conceive — all of this will help you get a tailored, you-specific solution to this problem.
Dads and parents are generally brave. They’re powerful figures, and children look up to them to learn the same skills and traits so that they can face the world and all its challenges later on.
If you’re avoiding the conversation with a healthcare provider, start being the parent you want to be today: make the call, push through any anxiety and get help.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!
Dr. Mike Bohl is a licensed physician and the Director of Scientific & Medical Content at a stealth biotech startup. Prior to joining Hims & Hers, Dr. Bohl spent several years in digital health focusing on patient education. He has also worked in medical journalism for The Dr. Oz Show and Sharecare and has served on the Medical Expert Board of Eat This, Not That!.
Dr. Bohl obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine from Brown University, his Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and his Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies—Journalism from Harvard University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership at Cornell University. Dr. Bohl trained in internal medicine with a focus on community health at NYU Langone Health.
Dr. Bohl is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Medical Writer Certified by the American Medical Writers Association, a certified Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist by the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs.
In addition to his written work, Dr. Bohl has experience creating medical segments for radio and producing patient education videos. You can find Dr. Bohl on LinkedIn for more information
Dr. Bohl lives in Manhattan and enjoys biking, resistance training, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, tennis, and traveling. You can find Dr. Bohl on LinkedIn for more information.
Bachelor of Arts, Egyptian and Ancient Western Asian Archaeology. Brown University |
Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist. Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs
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