I’ve recently joined the PCOS masses by jumping on the Metformin bandwagon. With my weight at a standstill, despite cleaning up my diet more than ever, and exercising, and my cycles going from occasional to non-existent, it was definitely time for some medical intervention. Metformin is producing some legitimate results in women with PCOS and my specialist and I both agreed that its worth a shot. I was warned by my doctor and pretty much every women I know who already takes it that it produces some wickedly nasty gastro-intestinal side effects so I prepared myself for the worst and took my first 500mg pill. I took it at night, with a snack (as was recommended) and then I lied awake all night waiting for the side effects to hit. Being hyperaware of my body alerted me to every little feeling I had. Was that a cramp? Nope, just a tummy gurgle. ALL NIGHT LONG I analyzed every feeling I had, most of which were probably attributed to fatigue, but non were side effects of the Met. YAY I made it through the first day!!! For the first week I sailed through on just one pill a day, and eventually my alertness to side effects dropped.
In week 2 I increased my dosage to two 500mg pills a day, and although I was slightly apprehensive about side effects, I definitely slept the first night I increased the dosage. I sailed through week two easy-peasy as well! Now, I’m well into week three, where I’ve hit my ultimate dosage goal of three 500mg pills a day and so far so good! I definitely recommend slowly increasing your dosage over time to ease side effects. If you do have side effects, wait until they subside a little and then increase to your next pill… it took me 3 weeks because I am lucky enough not to have any side effects, but I know for some women it took them 3 months, or more until they hit their final dosage.
It might sound crazy, but at first I almost felt a little left out by not having side effects. Its much more common to find women discussing how horrible they feel while on Met than it is to find all the happy stories. But they are there if you look, women losing weight, getting their hormones balanced and getting pregnant (multiple times even), YES!!! I choose to look at my lack of side effects as a sign that my body really needed the medication and it’s doing it’s job, or maybe its an indication that my diet really is clean, since alot of women suffer these side effects after eating fatty and sugary foods… either way, I’m looking at it as a positive 🙂
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Metformin and Glucophages, here is a brief summary of what it is (from my understanding!). Metformin is commonly prescribed to people with Type 2 Diabetes and more recently to women (whether obese or not) who suffer with PCOS. It helps to control blood glucose levels by decreasing the production of glucose in the liver (the liver produces glucose to keep a reserve of blood sugar in the body, something we used to need but don’t any more), increases insulin sensitivity in the cells (lowering the amount of insulin required to absorb glucose in the cells, reducing insulin resistance), and it decreases absorption of glucose in the intestines.
For women with PCOS, controlling insulin levels helps bring our hormones back into balance, decreases excess testosterone levels, and can promote regular menstrual cycles and ovulation. This means we see a decrease in things like facial hair, male pattern baldness, and acne as a result of the testosterone decrease. And once our cycles are back on track and our ovaries aren’t being bombarded with excess insulin, our fertility is increased. For those of us at a higher risk of diabetes because of our insulin resistance, Metformin helps to delay the onset, or even prevent it all together. Its important to keep in mind that weight loss is not the primary reason for prescribing Metformin, however, because Metformin helps control insulin and blood glucose levels, weight loss is a welcomed side effect!!! Also, because so many women have adverse reactions to fatty and sugary foods while on Met, it keeps you from eating things you know you shouldn’t and that goes along way to losing weight as well.
There are always side effects with any medication you take and its important to discuss your metabolic history with your doctor before you take it. Metformin’s most common side effects are nausea, gas, bloating, loose and frequent stools, and cramps (all those nasty gastrointestinal side effects I mentioned above) . There are others as well, and although they are very rare, its important to be informed. Met can cause problems with B12 absorption which can lead to all kinds of issues, as well, it can cause lactic acidosis, and elevated levels of homocystein which may increase you chances of cardio vascular disease and other things. I won’t go into detail about these side effects, or we could be here for awhile, but it is important to know they exist, along with others I didn’t mention, albeit it very rare. Make sure your doctor knows your history and discusses them with you. If you have a compromised liver or kidneys, in any way, Metformin may not be right for you so make sure to tell your doctor everything!
I have nothing particularly exciting to report since starting Metformin. It does take a few weeks for it to build up in your system, and because I slowly increased my dosage it may still be another couple weeks at three pills before I see any effects. In my PCOS group today I had one women tell me she hasn’t seen any results at all and its been a few months since she started, and another women said she lost weight, started spotting and had a change in moods all within the first week of taking it. As for me, only time will tell, but my fingers are crossed and my outlook is positive 🙂
Thanks for stopping in, take care everyone 🙂
I’m Happy, I’m Healthy, I’m Fertile, ttfn, xo