Metformin And Pcos: Everything You Need To Know
Metformin is a type of medication used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Because there is a strong link between diabetes and PCOS, metformin is now commonly proscribed to treat PCOS. But should it be? What is the real relationship between metformin and PCOS? Can Metformin used for PCOS help lessen PCOS symptoms? Metformin used for PCOS: The Science PCOS is an infertility condition that often causes acne, facial hair growth, balding, low sex drive, weight gain, difficulty with weight loss, and mental health disturbances such as depression and anxiety in approximately 15% of women. It is also associated with a myriad of health conditions, spanning from diabetes to hypothyroidism and to heart disease. PCOS is, in short, not a condition to sneeze at. PCOS is a condition of hormone imbalance. With PCOS, male sex hormones such as testosterone and DHEA-S rise relative to the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. (…Roughly speaking – it’s complicated. For a full-blown account of the science of PCOS and how it affects you, see here.) Elevated testosterone is very often the primary culprit in causing PCOS. (But not always! For one of my most thorough accounts of other things that can cause PCOS, see here.) Insulin causes testosterone levels to rise because insulin tells the ovaries to produce testosterone. Basically, elevated insulin causes elevated testosterone, which causes PCOS. This is where metformin comes into play. Metformin lowers blood sugar levels below what they would otherwise be after a meal. This is because it intervenes with the liver’s interaction with and production of glucose. Insulin is the body’s way of dealing with blood sugar. If blood sugar is lower, then insulin will be lower, and thus testosterone will be lower. Metformin decreases blood sugar, Continue reading >>
Role Of Metformin In The Management Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Go to: Background Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrinological disorder affecting 4–12% of women [Diamanti-Kandarakis et al. 1999; Farah et al. 1999; Knochenhauer et al. 1998]. It has also been the most controversial medical condition and every aspect has received a lot of attention from the nomenclature to the management. Several descriptions of similar conditions took place in the 20th century and it was named Stein—Leventhal Syndrome in 1935 after the authors who described polycystic ovarian morphology in patients suffering from hirsutism, amenorrhoea and infertility [Leventhal, 1958; Stein and Leventhal, 1935]. PCOS was also called polycystic ‘ovarian’ syndrome implying that the primary pathology lies in or triggered by the ovary. Others have called it polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), which is the least used term for obvious reasons. Currently, PCOS refers to a disorder with a combination of reproductive and metabolic characteristics. This has evolved over time with controversy over the definition culminating in the latest consensus [ESHRE/ASRM, 2004] which instead of solving the issue created more controversy [Azziz et al. 2006]. In the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology/American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ESHRE/ASRM) consensus, at least two of the following features are needed to make the diagnosis; oligo/anovulation, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic features on ultrasound scan [ESHRE/ASRM, 2004]. The Androgen Excess Society, however, recommended that androgen excess should remain a constant feature of PCOS irrespective of the ovulatory status and morphological features of the ovaries [Azziz et al. 2006]. For almost three decades, PCOS has been regarded as a life course disease which besides its reproductiv Continue reading >>
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (pcos) And Weight Gain
Most women at some point have to contend with weight gain. But for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), losing weight can become a constant struggle. PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in women of childbearing age and can lead to issues with fertility. Women who have PCOS have higher levels of male hormones and are also less sensitive to insulin or are "insulin-resistant." Many are overweight or obese. As a result, these women can be at a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and uterine cancer. If you have PCOS, certain lifestyle changes can help you shed pounds and reduce the disease's severity. Why does polycystic ovary syndrome cause weight gain? PCOS makes it more difficult for the body to use the hormone insulin, which normally helps convert sugars and starches from foods into energy. This condition -- called insulin resistance -- can cause insulin and sugar -- glucose -- to build up in the bloodstream. High insulin levels increase the production of male hormones called androgens. High androgen levels lead to symptoms such as body hair growth, acne, irregular periods -- and weight gain. Because the weight gain is triggered by male hormones, it is typically in the abdomen. That is where men tend to carry weight. So, instead of having a pear shape, women with PCOS have more of an apple shape. Abdominal fat is the most dangerous kind of fat. That’s because it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other health conditions. What are the risks associated with PCOS-related weight gain? No matter what the cause, weight gain can be detrimental to your health. Women with PCOS are more likely to develop many of the problems associated with weight gain and insulin resistance, including: Endometrial cancer Many of these condit Continue reading >>
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome And Pregnancy: Is Metformin The Magic Bullet?
This article reviews the literature regarding the effects of metformin therapy in pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome on weight loss, fertility, early pregnancy loss, malformations, gestational diabetes mellitus, perinatal mortality, placental clearance, lactation, and early childhood development. The pharmacology of metformin is also presented. Preliminary data suggest that metformin for this population may be both safe and effective. Large blinded, randomized clinical trials are underway to confirm the preliminary safety data. History of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Although the first description of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is generally credited to Stein and Leventhal in 1935, it may have been observed as early as 1721, when the Italian scientist Antonio Vallisneri observed “young married peasant women, moderately obese and infertile, with two larger than normal ovaries, bumpy and shiny, whitish, just like pigeon eggs.”1 This depiction sounds strikingly similar to the subfertility and obesity commonly found in PCOS. It was not until 1921 that Achard and Theirs2 noticed a relationship between hyperandrogenism and insulin resistance in their study of the “bearded diabetic woman.” And in 1935, Stein and Leventhal3 made the connection between amenorrhea and polycystic ovaries. In addition, they also noticed the occurrence of masculinizing changes, such as hirsutism and acne, in many patients with polycystic ovaries. Several, but not all, of Stein and Leventhal's original case studies involved women who were overweight. In all seven of their case reports, attempts to treat ovulatory dysfunction with estrogenic hormone failed, and wedge resection was employed. All of their patients gained normal menstruation, and two became pregnant. Surgery for PCOS Continue reading >>
Have Pcos Or Diabetes? Is Metformin (glucophage) Your Best Choice?
Should you take metformin -- nor not? Is there a better alternative? This page will answer your questions. It's an anti-diabetic drug sometimes used to treat PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), although it is used chiefly to help control Type 2 diabetes. This drug offers both benefits and significant risks. Free PCOS Newsletter The FDA has approved it only for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Because of this limitation, some physicians don't have much clinical experience using Glucophage to treat PCOS and don't always feel comfortable using it unless you have diabetes. 13 Side Effects of Metformin Your Doctor Didn't Tell You About Did you know that metformin has at least 13 under-recognized side effects? Some of them can be serious. Read more about the side effects. Can't Tolerate It? Try This! Medical research is now showing that there are natural alternatives to this and other drugs for treating PCOS, diabetes or metabolic syndrome. So if you're uncomfortable with the idea of taking Glucophage for years to come, or you've tried it but can't tolerate its side effects, take a look at the natural alternatives that are just as effective as metformin. Does It Reduce PCOS Symptoms? Some medical guidelines say it is not the first thing you should try for controlling PCOS. However, it may be helpful IF you have insulin resistance. Read more... Take Supplemental Vitamin B12! Recent research is showing that you will develop a vitamin B12 deficiency if you take this drug for over a year or so. A deficiency in vitamin B12 could have undesirable consequences if for fetal development if you're pregnancy or trying to become pregnant. Read more... Is It Appropriate for Girls? As girls and teenagers start to have trouble with their weight, irregular periods, early appearance of public Continue reading >>
If a woman is not seeking to become pregnant, hormonal birth control (most often birth control pills) is a standard treatment. Birth control pills regulate periods and improve excess hair growth and acne by lowering androgen levels and protect the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) against abnormal cell growth. Older types of birth control pills have lower risk for dangerous blood clots and are preferable over new types of birth control pills. Although metformin is not approved by the FDA for treatment of PCOS, many doctors prescribe it for PCOS patients. Metformin is a medicine that makes the body more sensitive to insulin. This can help lower elevated blood glucose levels, insulin levels, and androgen levels. People who use metformin may lose some weight as well. Metformin can improve menstrual patterns, but metformin doesn’t help as much for unwanted excess hair. Many women who are diagnosed with PCOS are often automatically prescribed metformin. However, it's important to have a reason for taking metformin and not be on it just because of a diagnosis of PCOS. Discuss with your doctor the reason why you are taking metformin and whether it is providing a benefit to you. Clomiphene (Clomid) is an oral medication that is the most common treatment used to induce ovulation. The use of both metformin and clomiphene has about the same fertility results as clomiphene use alone. A benefit is that metformin may help reduce the risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (see also "What is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) during assisted reproductive technology (ART) fertility treatments. Other treatments to stimulate ovulation include another oral medication called letrozole (Femara) and gonadotropins which are hormones that are given by injection. In vitro fert Continue reading >>
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Treatment Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can't be cured, but the symptoms can be managed. Treatment options can vary because someone with PCOS may experience a range of symptoms, or just one. The main treatment options are discussed in more detail below. Lifestyle changes In overweight women, the symptoms and overall risk of developing long-term health problems from PCOS can be greatly improved by losing excess weight. Weight loss of just 5% can lead to a significant improvement in PCOS. You can find out whether you're a healthy weight by calculating your body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of your weight in relation to your height. A normal BMI is 18.5-24.9. Use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out whether your BMI is in the healthy range. You can lose weight by exercising regularly and having a healthy, balanced diet. Your diet should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, (at least five portions a day), whole foods (such as wholemeal bread, wholegrain cereals and brown rice), lean meats, fish and chicken. Your GP may be able to refer you to a dietitian if you need specific dietary advice. Medications A number of medications are available to treat different symptoms associated with PCOS. These are described below. Irregular or absent periods The contraceptive pill may be recommended to induce regular periods, or periods may be induced using an intermittent course of progestogen tablets (which are usually given every three to four months, but can be given monthly). This will also reduce the long-term risk of developing cancer of the womb lining (endometrial cancer) associated with not having regular periods. Other hormonal methods of contraception, such as an intrauterine (IUS) system, will also reduce this risk by keeping the womb lining thin, bu Continue reading >>
How Long Does It Take For Metformin To Work For Conception?
Metformin, also known as Glucophage, is a medication that is used to regulate the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Metformin accomplishes its task through three methods. First, it causes the liver to produce less glucose. Second, metformin helps your stomach to absorb less glucose from the food that you eat. Finally, metformin improves the efficiency of the insulin that the body produces, which reduces the amount of glucose that is in your blood. Metformin is often prescribed for people with Type II diabetes. How long it takes Metformin to work depends on the reason that a woman is taking metformin. If a woman is taking metformin to regulate her blood sugar, metformin typically will work within a few days or a few weeks at the most. For the woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) metformin can help to reduce the amount of insulin in the body. Once the insulin levels are under control, many women will then experience improved ovulation. If metformin is going to work for a woman who has experienced fertility problems because of her polycystic ovarian syndrome, it will typically help within three to six months. Unlike most fertility treatments, metformin does not cause a risk of having a multiple or twin pregnancy. If metformin alone does not help a woman with PCOS who is trying to conceive, a fertility doctor may prescribe Clomid, as well. If metformin is prescribed for a woman with PCOS to help restore a regular, normal menstrual cycle, metformin can work within 4 to 8 weeks. In addition, the stabilized levels of insulin may affect the other hormones in a woman’s body, and reduce other symptoms of PCOS. Some women, either with diabetes or PCOS, use metformin as a tool for weight loss. If this is the case, weight loss can occur somewhere between 1 and 5 wee Continue reading >>
6 Reasons Why Metformin Might Not Be Safe For Pcos
Have you been prescribed metformin for PCOS and are wondering what the side affects are? Metformin is often described as a ‘safe’ drug, but read on to find out why this might not be the case. When I was diagnosed with PCOS, the first thing I asked my GP was what I could take to ‘fix’ it. She gently explained that there was no pill or surgery that could cure my condition. However, there was a drug that could help with the elevated insulin levels caused by it. Metformin, she claimed, was a safe drug with no major side effects that would help with insulin resistance and weight loss. Sign me up. At first, I thought metformin was the wonder drug. I lost about 5kg in 4 months, more than I had ever been able to lose previously. I was ecstatic. I had a quick look online to see whether there were any side effects and initially found that diarrhea, loose stools, fatigue, and muscle soreness were commonly experienced. But I thought that it was small price to pay for finally being able to lose some weight. However, when I investigated further I found that that there are some much more sinister side effects of metformin that aren’t so widely publicised. These include: – Depleting our bodies of essential nutrients. – Increasing the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect by up to 9 times. – Reducing energy levels by almost 50%. – Killing beneficial gut bacteria. This article is not intended to be a case against metformin for PCOS. There is no doubt that metformin helps to reduce weight, lowers blood glucose levels, and promotes ovulation. My concern is the lack of studies about the safety of long-term use of metformin for PCOS, especially in utero. Drugs can help with the associated symptoms of a disease, but they cannot fix the root cause of it. Metformin i Continue reading >>
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Fertility Treatment With Metformin (glucophage)
How Metformin Is Used for Polycystic Ovaries Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common cause of anovulation and infertility in women. These women do not ovulate (release eggs) regularly and therefore have irregular menstrual periods. The ovaries have many small cysts (2-7 mm diameter) called antral follicles, giving the ovaries a characteristic "polycystic" (many cysts) appearance on ultrasound. A relatively new method of treating ovulation problems in women with polycystic ovarian disease is to use an oral medication called metformin (brand name is Glucophage). Metformin has traditionally been used as an oral drug to help control diabetes. Then, some smart doctor figured out that polycystic ovarian syndrome treatment with metformin can be very effective. If Glucophage alone does not result in ovulation and pregnancy, we often use: If the combination therapy is not effective, we can try: Metformin Use with IVF Treatment We also use Glucophage in women going through in vitro fertilization for PCOS, and for those with very high antral follicle counts - if their ovaries are "polycystic" by ultrasound. We find that some women with polycystic ovaries respond with a "smoother" response to the injectable FSH medication if they have been taking Glucophage. Risks and Side Effects of Metformin / Glucophage In about 25% of women Glucophage causes side effects which may include abdominal discomfort, cramping, diarrhea and nausea. The side effects may be severe enough to make the woman stop the Glucophage medication. We are not aware of any serious complications resulting from Glucophage treatment. Another oral medication used for diabetes called Troglitazone has been associated with liver failure and death in rare cases. This has been publicized on television shows, in newspapers, et Continue reading >>
Metformin (glucophage) And Pcos
Metformin (Glucophage) is a pharmaceutical drug originally developed to treat elevated blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes. It is now commonly prescribed for women with PCOS. Potential side effects of Metformin include: Gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea, gas and bloating, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Decreased Vitamin B12 absorption that can potentially lead to anemia. Increased levels of amino acids in the blood, which is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Contraindications in using Metformin include liver disease, alcoholism, compromised renal function, hypoxic conditions, and moderate to severe infections. There is an alternative to using Metformin. Metformin (Glucophage) is a pharmaceutical drug often prescribed for women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). It is an insulin-sensitizing biguanide commonly used to treat elevated blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes. It is often used as an off-label prescription for PCOS, which means it was originally used only for individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, but is now prescribed for PCOS patients because it has similar actions in both groups. If you have PCOS, you may have Insulin Resistance. If you have Insulin Resistance the ability of your cells to respond to the action of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and tissue is diminished. Metformin improves the cell’s response to insulin and helps move glucose into the cell. As a result, your body is not required to make as much insulin.1 PCOS and its symptoms of hyperandrogenism (acne, hirsutism, alopecia), reproductive disorders (irregular menses, anovulation, infertility, polycystic ovaries), and metabolic disturbances (weight gain) have been linked to hyperinsulinemia and In Continue reading >>
Metformin Side Effects For Pcos: 6 Things You Need To Know
Insulin resistance is seen in the majority of women with PCOS. Doctors prescribe metformin for PCOS because it is an effective insulin sensitizer. However, the drug comes with its share of side effects. Let’s look at Metformin side effects for PCOS in detail. Metformin Side Effects For PCOS 1. Malaise Or Physical Discomfort As many as 1 in every 4 women on metformin just does not feel well. There is a feeling of fatigue even without much physical exertion. Sometimes, this fatigue is accompanied with aches that can last for a varying degree of time. While this may not sound too severe, it is one of the most common Metformin side effect for PCOS. 2. Gastrointestinal Distress Gastrointestinal problems is another common Metformin side effect for PCOS (experienced by nearly a third of women taking the drug.) These problems include abdominal pain, nausea, occasional vomiting, loose motions, irregular bowel movements or diarrhea. Bloating and flatulence can be a major source of embarrassment. Anorexia and a sharp metallic taste can play havoc with appetite, especially because eating a healthy diet at the right times is critical for PCOS patients. Heartburn and headaches add to the suffering caused by PCOS symptoms. 3. Anemia Another Metformin side effect for PCOS is a decrease in Vitamin B12 levels because the drug affects the absorption of this vitamin. Vitamin B12 is vital for red blood cell formation. When levels of vitamin B12 go down, you can suffer from anemia. Common symptoms of anemia include tiredness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. Vitamin B12 also plays an important role in many bodily processes. For example, there is evidence of a relationship between low levels of vitamin B12 and an increased risk of heart diseases. 4. Accumulation Of Homocysteine Long-term use Continue reading >>
10 Facts About Metformin And Pcos
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a relatively common hormonal disorder that is one of the leading causes of infertility. Some women who have PCOS develop insulin resistance. This occurs when the cells of the body don’t respond well to a hormone known as insulin. Insulin allows the cells to take sugar (glucose) from the blood. If the cells don’t take in this sugar it leads to higher levels of glucose and insulin circulating through the body in the bloodstream. This, in turn, leads to increased levels of androgens (male hormones) which cause the classic symptoms of PCOS such as excess hair growth and more importantly in terms of fertility – lack of ovulation. Getting pregnant with PCOS can be possible with the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Here are the Top 10 facts about metformin use in PCOS patients: 1) Metformin is a medication that is primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is marketed in the US under the names Fortamet, Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza and Riomet. It is available as a tablet, extended-release tablet and a liquid. 2) With infertility patients, it is used not because the women with PCOS have diabetes (although they do have an increased risk of developing this disease), but because it acts on improving use of insulin by the cells of the body and therefore reducing the level of insulin in the blood. This can lead to improved ovulation, more regular menstrual cycles as well as a reduction in excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain. It may also slow down or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes later in life. 3) To determine if it would be helpful for a patient with PCOS to use Metformin, they are given a 2 Hour Glucose Tolerance Test. First, a fasting blood sample is drawn to determine a baseline glucose level. The patient t Continue reading >>
Pcos: Insulin And Metformin
Young women with PCOS often have elevated insulin levels and are more likely to develop diabetes. Metformin is a medication often prescribed for women with PCOS to help prevent diabetes. A lifestyle that includes healthy nutrition and daily exercise is the most important part of a PCOS treatment plan. What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone made by an organ in the body called the pancreas. The food you eat is broken down into simple sugar (glucose) during digestion. Glucose is absorbed into the blood after you eat. Insulin helps glucose enter the cells of the body to be used as energy. If there’s not enough insulin in the body, or if the body can’t use the insulin, sugar levels in the blood become higher. What is insulin resistance? If your body is resistant to insulin, it means you need high levels of insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. Certain medical conditions such as being overweight or having PCOS can cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance tends to run in families. What can insulin resistance do to me? High insulin levels can cause thickening and darkening of the skin (acanthosis nigricans) on the back of the neck, axilla (under the arms), and groin area. In young women with PCOS, high insulin levels can cause the ovaries to make more androgen hormones such as testosterone. This can cause increased body hair, acne, and irregular or few periods. Having insulin resistance can increase your risk of developing diabetes. How can I lower my insulin levels? You can help lower your insulin levels naturally by eating fewer starches and sugars, and more foods that are high in fiber and low in refined carbohydrates. Low glycemic foods, on the other hand, don’t raise your blood sugar or insulin levels as much as foods that are high in sugar or refined carbohydr Continue reading >>
What Is Metformin? And Is It Right For You?
Are you one of the millions of women who’ve been diagnosed with PCOS or high blood sugar? Do you struggle every day with symptoms like excessive weight, mood swings, infertility, facial hair or acne? When you’re dealing with such terrible symptoms, finding a solution becomes your top priority. Hi, I’m Robin Nielsen, the Chief Wellness Officer here at Insulite Health. I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve personally experienced symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, and I know the difficult challenges you face. Perhaps you’re wondering if prescription drugs might be that solution. In fact your doctor may suggest the drug Metformin, also known as Glucophage. What is Metformin, and is it right for you? Metformin is a drug originally used to treat high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. It’s sometimes prescribed to women with PCOS because both diabetes and PCOS share an underlying cause. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to help get sugar into our cells to burn for fuel. I call insulin the key that unlocks the cell. Insulin resistance occurs when your body’s cells resist the effects of insulin, causing you to produce even more insulin and actually store the sugar in the blood as fat, here around your middle. Too much insulin leads to an imbalance of hormones, especially sex hormones. Metformin can improve your body’s response to insulin at the cellular level, so your body produces less insulin, which can stabilize your hormonal levels and lower blood sugar. Women who take Metformin for PCOS may see improvements in some of their symptoms, such as hirsutism, irregular menstrual cycles, and weight gain, but not without a price. Metformin’s use is associated with many side effects, some potentially serious or even life-threatening. Dig Continue reading >>