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If you have been trying to conceive yet failing repeatedly, your doctor might have prescribed letrozole (a fertility medicine) to you. Earlier, letrozole was used for treating cancer in the breast tissue. However, over the years, its role has morphed into something more; this medicine helps a woman with fertility issues and conceive successfully.
What Is Letrozole?
In strict medical terms, a letrozole is a form of medication that is non-steroidal. It is consumed orally and functions as an aromatase inhibitor. This inhibition helps in reducing estradiol levels in the body, which allows the follicle stimulating hormone to rise and allow more follicles in the ovaries to grow readily.
Who Should Take Letrozole?
Not all women are recommended a dose of letrozole for treating fertility issues. In most cases, if you are facing from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), your doctor may prescribe you letrozole. Many other disorders that affect the ovulation cycle of a woman are met with an administration of letrozole. A few doctors may prescribe the medication if the cause of infertility has not been determined conclusively.
How Does Letrozole Work for Fertility?
Many women experience the presence of letrozole fertility bloating after taking the medication. This makes it important to understand how letrozole works within the body and impacts the fertility in a good way.
Letrozole is typically an aromatase inhibitor, which means that it blocks any kind of aromatase activity within the body. Therefore, once the drug enters your body, the cycle of converting androgens to estrogen is halted in its path. As the estrogen levels drop in the body, this is sensed by the pituitary gland, which is responsible for maintaining optimal hormone levels at all times. In order to balance the reduced estrogen, the gland secretes the follicle stimulating hormones to increase estrogen. The effect of generating FSH is multifold, as it also affects the ovaries causing them to be stimulated and generate an egg. At times, higher FSH could cause a woman to release more than one egg as well.
Ovulation begins and reaches a peak once the dose is completed. Engaging in sexual intercourse at this stage helps increase the chances of natural conception substantially and achieve pregnancy.
How to Take Letrozole for Fertility
Doctors usually recommend women to take around 2.5mg letrozole for fertility purposes. The dosage usually lasts for 5 days to a week, if a tablet is taken every day. The right time to begin taking letrozole is on the third or fourth day of the cycle. Once the intake continues for 5 days, ovulation usually kicks in and continues for about four days to a week after the course is completed.
What Is the Success Rate of Fertility with Letrozole?
Figuring out the effectiveness of this medicine is challenging as a successful conception depends on a variety of factors. That being said, many studies and research programmes have pointed towards a substantial improvement in ovulation of women after administering letrozole. Statistics have shown that nearly 28 percent of women achieve pregnancy after beginning letrozole and continuing to deliver the babies successfully. On matters of ovulation, more than half of the women suffering from PCOS or other ovulatory disorders have mentioned that intake of letrozole have helped them achieve ovulation successfully.
Risks and Side Effects of Taking Letrozole for Infertility Treatment
While letrozole does have its benefits in countering instances of infertility in various women as well as helping most of them achieve improved ovulation cycles, there are a bunch of risks and side effects that might occur as a result of its intake. In most cases, letrozole is not recommended for long term usage due to the possibility of birth defects occurring as a result.
- The primary action of letrozole is to stop the conversion of androgens to estrogen, which causes the levels of the hormone to fall within the body. While the pituitary gland does stimulate the ovaries to counter this fall, the effect of estrogen reduction can be observed easily. Women may experience instances of dizziness or headaches as a result of it. At times, hot flashes may occur and a few women might find their breasts to be quite tender and sensitive than usual.
- The alternative to letrozole is clomiphene. However, the side effects of the drug range from mood fluctuations to a substantial impact on the lining of the uterus and on the mucus covering the cervix. While letrozole does not cause such effects, it does tend to cause leg cramps in some women. Thankfully, the cramps and headaches subside once the course is completed.
- Since letrozole is taken for conception, there is a rare chance that a woman would be on birth control pills at the same time. In the rarest of the rare cases, any medication with letrozole is bound to react with the pills and may reduce their effect. Similarly, women attempting to get pregnant while breastfeeding their previous child should not take letrozole since it can find its way into the baby’s body and disturb his hormones.
- Earlier, letrozole was attributed to be responsible for the formation of birth defects in children. But this was later observed to be in cases where women would continue to take letrozole even while breastfeeding the child, causing toxic reactions in the baby as well as the formation of physical anomalies in the development. Similarly, women who have a premenopausal endocrinal condition are suggested to avoid the drug entirely for similar reasons.
Knowing how effective letrozole is for fertility may not provide a clear and concise answer because the actual effect of letrozole is not on fertility but on ovulation. A better ovulation can increase the chances of conception, but only when you indulge in sex on a regular basis.
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