Infertility is a common struggle for many people who want to build a family. Worldwide, about 1 in 6 people deal with infertility. Luckily, there are many ways to treat infertility, including a medication called letrozole. But how, exactly, does letrozole work?
How Does Letrozole Work?
Some people experience infertility because of ovulation problems. Letrozole boosts fertility by promoting ovulation. It does so by suppressing estrogen production in the body, which ultimately leads to increased follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. This stimulates follicle growth and egg development, increasing the chances of ovulation.
When is Letrozole Needed in Fertility Treatment?
Ovulation problems stem from different causes, such as Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Therefore, letrozole may be recommended for those with PCOS, unexplained infertility, or low egg count.
Letrozole is also commonly used as part of an intrauterine insemination (IUI) During IUI, sperm is inseminated into the uterus around the time of ovulation. Letrozole is often used during IUI to stimulate ovulation and thus increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
Success Rates and Evidence of Letrozole
Success rates vary from person to person, depending on the root cause of infertility and your unique situation. Evidence suggests that letrozole is more effective than other medications in people with PCOS, and studies show that letrozole appears to help treat infertility stemming from endometriosis or unexplained causes.
Other Fertility Medication Options
Clomiphene is another medication that's commonly used to promote ovulation. According to research, letrozole is more effective than clomiphene for PCOS patients. Letrozole may also cause fewer side effects than clomiphene. Some people may not respond to clomiphene, making letrozole a good alternative.
Gonadotropins are hormonal medications given by injection and sometimes used during an IUI or IVF cycle. Gonadotropins include FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH), two hormones that stimulate follicle production and egg release in the ovaries. Sometimes, gonadotropins may be used alongside letrozole during fertility treatments.
Letrozole is an oral medication, which can make it easier to take than an injection. Some research suggests letrozole may also come with a lower risk of multiples than other medications.
Risks and Side Effects of Letrozole
Like any medication, there are potential risks and side effects when taking letrozole.
While taking letrozole, you may experience:
• trouble sleeping
• hot flashes or night sweats
• breast tenderness
• stomach upset
Don't hesitate to call your doctor if you have side effects that are severe, persistent, or concerning while taking letrozole.
Getting Started with Letrozole for Fertility
It's worth being evaluated by a caring fertility specialist before pursuing any fertility treatment. They can assess you to determine what might be causing your infertility and then decide on an appropriate treatment plan, which may include an oral medication like letrozole. A fertility specialist can advise whether IUI or IVF may be right for you and discuss your treatment options.
Helping You Every Step of the Way On Your Fertility Journey
Reproductive Gynecology & Infertility is committed to compassionate, personalized fertility care. We offer various advanced fertility care options to provide each person with the highest quality care possible. If you are having trouble conceiving or have questions about letrozole or other fertility treatments, contact us today to schedule a consultation.