Clomid, brand name of the drug clomiphene, is commonly prescribed to women to induce ovulation. It is also commonly used off label by men to boost testosterone, improve sperm production or a part of as performance enhancement regime. We asked Dr. Eric Seaman about Clomid use, particularly if there were any side effects that men who are considering taking Clomid should be aware of. Here’s what he had to say:
First, the Bad….
There are a couple of common known negative side effects of Clomid.
First, it can alter a patient’s mood. Moodiness is a common side effect of Clomid for women. It can make them feel more irritable or cranky than usual. Interestingly, doctors have found that this side effect is less common in men. However, it can happen. Generally, the recommendation for men is that if the drug is causing mood swings, the patient should stop taking it.
Second, it often causes acne. It’s a drug that messes with your hormones… it might make you revisit your high-school years.
Third, it can cause weight gain. Doctors aren’t sure if the weight gain is due to increased appetite, alterations in metabolism or water retention, but it is fairly common to see a bit of weight gain in both men and women. If you are on this medication, it could be a good idea to step on the scale every once in a while to monitor your body weight.
Now, the Good…
Not all side effects are bad, and in the case of Clomid, many of the side effects that men experience are pretty positive. In general, Clomid stimulates an increase of natural testosterone production. Most manly characteristics such as facial hair, muscle mass and libido are controlled by testosterone. So, in turn, men on Clomid general experience an increase of libido, energy and endurance.
Interestingly, Testosterone also seems to enhance a man’s sense of well-being and his sense of control over his world. So, while women more often experience negative mood effects from taking Clomid, men are more likely to feel emboldened, empowered and generally more manly while on the medication.
Is There a Down Side to Having Extra Testosterone?
It’s easy to see why Clomid is popular as a performance enhancer. Boosting sperm, getting in better shape and turning up the temperature in the bedroom are side effects that every man can stand firmly behind, unfortunately, Clomid isn’t a magic bullet that magically turns every ordinary Joe into a specimen of sheer godliness. While it does boost Testosterone, men on Clomid do not typically experience gains at the same levels as men who are using anabolic steroids. So, the average Joe on Clomid is likely to just be a little more horny, competitive and have acne. Basically, they will revisit their 18 year old selves.
Rarely, men have a strong reaction to Clomid and produce significant amounts of Testosterone in response to the medication. While this is rare and many of the side effects are pretty awesome, it’s worth noting that there are some downsides to having too much T. First, estrogen in men is made from Testosterone. An enzyme called aromatase converts T molecules into a form of estrogen known as estrodial. In men that are overweight or consume a lot of sugar or alcohol, a larger portion of T is often converted, leading to an abundance of estrogen. The most common symptom that comes from having too much estrogen is gynecomastia, or the formation of breast tissue. Typically, gynecomastia can be reversed if hormone levels are balanced. But, if left unchecked for long periods, some tissue formations can become permanent.
Other risks associated with elevated testosterone are primarily cardiovascular in nature — heart attack, stroke and the like. Men on Clomid do not typically reach T levels that puts them anywhere near risk for these side effects. However, men who are using testosterone boosting drugs recreationally who see incredible gains in the gym typically are boosting testostone levels to ranges that are unhealthy for the heart which does put them at risk.
This doesn't need to be a taboo subject left in a closet, nor do men need to go through this alone. Education and community are key elements to improving health. Don't cook your balls is a space for us to share science and experience advance the state of male reproductive health care.