Medications for Ovulatory Disorders

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are lucky in that doctors now have a wealth of medications at the ready to help induce ovulation. These medications serve to either induce or regulate ovulation in women with anovulatory conditions like PCOS. Among these medications are drugs like the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH) which are used to trigger ovulation and work much like natural hormones. Here are some of the other popular treatments for anovulation, the most common cause of female infertility:

*Clomid or Serophene (clomiphene citrate)-This is an oral medication that triggers the pituitary gland to discharge the hormones that will cause egg-housing ovarian follicles to grow.

*Repronex (human menopausal gonadotropin, or hMG)-This is an injectable drug that gives direct stimulation to the ovaries. This is a next step drug in the case where the pituitary glands cannot be stimulated to trigger ovulation. The drug contains a combination of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

*Gonal-F, Follistim, Bravelle (FSH)-As opposed to Repronex, these drugs contain only (FSH) but act in much the same manner as the combination drug, causing the maturation of egg follicles.

*Ovidrel, Pregnyl (human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG)-This drug is used to cause the follicle to release its egg—which is the definition of ovulation—and is often used along with Clomid, Repronex, and the FSH drugs.

*Factrel (gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs or Gn-RH)-This treatment works by regulating ovulatory cycles which can help induce follicle growth in combination with FSH.

*Femara (letrozole)-This drug is an aromatase inhibitor which means it affects the production of estrogen, the female sex hormone. The drug was created to treat or prevent breast cancer, but this off-label use as a fertility drug is gaining in popularity, especially where Clomid has failed to produce the desired results.

*Glucophage (metformin)-This oral drug can help to boost ovulation and is used in cases where insulin resistance is the direct cause of infertility, as in PCOS, for instance. 

*Bromocriptine-Bromocriptine is a drug which is used to inhibit prolactin production, one of the main causes of irregular ovulatory cycles.

All of these drugs increase your chances for a multiple birth. The injectable drugs have a higher risk for multiple births than the oral fertility medications. All treatment with fertility drugs should be accompanied by a careful monitoring of your condition with blood, hormone, and ultrasound tests. The latter is for the purpose of measuring the size of the ovarian follicles.

Too Many Babies?

The greater the number of fetuses in a given pregnancy, the more likely it is that premature labor will set in. Premature babies stand the risk of various health and developmental issues with the risk increasing in direct relation to the number of babies born. This means that triplets are at a greater risk for these types of issues than are twins.

Fancy Term

Often, couples have such a strong desire for pregnancy that there is little concern about the issue of multiple babies. One of the best ways to improve the fetuses' chances for survival is to have a multi-fetal pregnancy reduction in which some of the fetuses are removed. Being that this is a fancy term for a kind of abortion, the procedure brings with it some moral and emotional issues which you and your partner will want to discuss with your physician before beginning treatment.

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