Taking medication for infertility can be daunting when you read the list of side effects.
Crinone is a medication prescribed by healthcare professionals for treating infertility caused by progesterone deficiency.
Let’s take a look at Crinone side effects.
What is Crinone?
Crinone is a progesterone gel.
It has the appearance of a soft, white to off-white gel. The active ingredient is either a 4% or an 8% concentration.
The gel is inserted into the vagina from the pre-filled applicator in exactly the right dose prescribed by your health care professional.
The gel coats the inside of the vagina and provides a prolonged release of the hormone, which is absorbed into the bloodstream.
How does Crinone work?
Crinone is prescribed to replace or supplement your own naturally present hormone, as part of assisted reproductive technology.
The hormone progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus for pregnancy.
It is released after ovulation, and triggers the lining to thicken, in anticipation of the fertilised egg.
Crinone gel has the same effect as your own progesterone, and also prepares the lining of the uterus for a fertilised egg
Women who have experienced recurrent miscarriage can also use Crinone to try to prevent another miscarriage.
Why do doctors prescribe progesterone in early pregnancy?
If pregnancy occurs, Crinone might be prescribed for 10-12 weeks to support the growing embryo.
In early pregnancy, progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum.
This structure forms when a mature egg is released from the follicle. It is essential for conception to occur.
Progesterone stimulates the growth of blood vessels and glands in the uterus lining to nourish the embryo.
It also relaxes the uterus, so it doesn’t contract and prevent the embryo from implanting.
Some research shows progesterone insufficiency is linked to early pregnancy loss.
Crinone and your menstrual cycle
Understanding how your menstrual cycle works and the impact of hormones helps you appreciate how supplements like Crinone work.
The first 14 days of your menstrual cycle is called the follicular phase.
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the ovary to produce 5-20 follicles.
Each follicle contains an immature egg but only the healthiest egg will mature and be released during ovulation.
The next phase is the luteal phase and this is when ovulation occurs.
The mature egg is released from the ovary, leaving a corpus luteum in the ovary.
The role of the corpus luteum is to produce progesterone for 12-16 days to prepare the lining of the uterus for a fertilised egg.
If the egg isn’t fertilised, progesterone levels drop and the thickened lining is shed as menstrual blood.
If the egg is fertilised and implants in the thickened lining, the corpus luteum produces progesterone for 10-12 weeks to support the growing embryo and placenta.
After 10-12 weeks, the placenta takes over to support the pregnancy.
How does Crinone work in early pregnancy?
If naturally occurring progesterone is absent, or too low, in the luteal phase, Crinone is used to supplement or replace it.
Too little progesterone during the luteal phase means the lining is unable to support an embryo.
Crinone provides extra progesterone so the lining develops properly and can support early pregnancy.
Usually, you would continue to use Crinone for at least 12 weeks until the placenta takes over.
How is Crinone used?
The treatment comes as prefilled plastic applicator tubes sealed in a plastic wrapper. Crinone is applied directly from the applicator into the vagina.
- The applicator is inserted into the vagina while you are in a sitting position or lying down with your knees bent
- The thin end of the applicator is inserted well into the vagina and the thick end of the applicator is pressed firmly
- Lying down for 15 minutes after insertion ensures good absorption of the medication
- Crinone should be used at the same time each day
- If used twice daily, one applicator of Crinone should be used in the morning and another at night
You should store Crinone inserts at room temperature, and away from moisture, heat and light.
What happens if you forget?
Always take the dosage prescribed at the frequency your doctor or health care professionals have instructed.
If you forget your treatment on a normal dosage day, don’t worry. Just use it the following day and then continue as before.
Don’t use a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
Is it normal for Crinone to come out?
You might find you have increased vaginal discharge when using Crinone every other day.
The treatment is inserted vaginally and lines your vaginal tissue.
Over time, the gel can accumulate on the lining of the vaginal wall. Small, white globules or clumps might appear as a vaginal discharge.
Using Crinone every other day can also cause vaginal irritation and spotting. Bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a miscarriage is imminent.
What are the common Crinone side effects?
It’s impossible to predict how you’ll respond to the treatment. Ideally the benefits of the medication outweigh any Crinone side effects, drawbacks and discomfort.
As with all medicine, you might experience Crinone side effects.
Always tell your doctor if you experience any of the most common side effects of Crinone progesterone vaginal gel, such as:
- Breast tenderness
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding (spotting)
- Vaginal irritation
- Joint pain
- Stomach cramps
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have these side effects. Avoid driving or any activity that could be dangerous if you’re feeling drowsy as a result of the medication.
Ask your doctor for medical advice if Crinone side effects persist or worsen.
Although severe reactions are rare, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience effects of a severe allergic reaction, such as:
- Itching or swelling of face, throat or mouth
- Extreme dizziness
- Trouble breathing.
Serious Crinone side effects
Serious side effects of Crinone include:
- Sudden headache, numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body)
- Chest pain or heavy feeling in chest, with pain spreading to arm or shoulder
- Shortness of breath, or problems with speech, balance or vision
- Swelling or pain in either or both legs
- Swelling in hands, ankles or feet
- Stomach pain or loss of appetite
- Dark urine or clay colored stools
- Yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice)
- Breast swelling or breast pain
- Flu symptoms, including fever, body aches
- Sleep problems, weakness, mood changes.
Your doctor will give you advice about side effects you might experience.
Can anyone take Crinone?
Your doctor won’t prescribe this treatment if you have any of the following conditions:
- Bleeding disorder
- Blood clot or the risk of having a blood clot
- Breast cancer or any other cancers
- Liver disease
- Heart attack or stroke
- Tumours that grow with estrogen or progesterone.
How long to continue with Crinone progesterone?
If you become pregnant you’ll continue to supplement using Crinone until 9-10 weeks of pregnancy.
If your pregnancy test is negative you will be instructed to stop treatment. You can expect your period to begin within a few days of stopping the treatment.
How to increase progesterone levels naturally?
For women with progesterone deficiency there are many ways to support fertility treatment.
- A diet full of nutrients and omega 3 fatty acids, such as cold water fish or flax, improves your body’s ability to produce progesterone
- Include foods with high levels of vitamin B (eggs, legumes, vegetables) and vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries, kiwis, broccoli) every other day as your body doesn’t store these vitamins
- Find balance in your daily life and avoid over-exercising
- Sign up for a meditation or yoga class to manage your stress levels
- Being overweight adds considerable stress to your body and impacts hormone production. Long-term healthy weight loss supports balanced hormones.