Metformin woes (diarrhea-free!)
August 27, 2010 3:02 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to hear about your experience taking metformin for PCOS, especially if it didn't work quite as you expected...

Hi all

A couple of years ago I was prescribed metformin to improve my fertility and regulate my cycles (I have PCOS and looong cycles of around 40-45 days). I ovulated more quickly and I got pregnant about a month later, yay!

Now I'm taking it again (1500mg), and after about a month it's not working as well. In fact it's doing the opposite - I didn't ovulate when I normally do and my morning temperatures have gone all spiky so I think my body may have gone into a annovulatory state.

When I told my GP she told me to stick with it a bit longer, and my husband feels the same.

Has anyone had any experience of this? Should I stick with it, change the dosage or throw the pills away?? Any advice/anecdotes appreciated.
posted by low_horrible_immoral to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, don't throw it away. Fertility is only a part of the problem with PCOS -- it's really a constellation of symptoms, the gift that keeps on giving. (Sorry.) Metformin helps regulate your blood sugar, too, which is important through your whole life.

My doctor wants me on a full dose of Metformin for up to a year before I even start trying to get pregnant. You've only been back on it a month. Anyone can have a bad cycle and with PCOS you have a history of having bad ones. You're panicking. Don't do that. Stay the course, at least for a few months, and see if you smooth out some.

Don't just change the dosage, either, unless you want to have a blood sugar crash somewhere inconvenient.
posted by sugarfish at 5:24 AM on August 27, 2010

I was taking metformin for PCOS (and will start again soon since I now have insurance), and my doctor told me not to expect to see any changes for three to six months. Now, I wasn't taking it for fertility reasons, so I didn't monitor changes in that arena. But I found that I did lose some weight and have more regular periods after about six months.

I think you may have gotten lucky the first time. Definitely give it at least 3-6 months, and if you're still not seeing any changes, raise the topic with your doctor. Also keep in mind that your previous pregnancy could have effected your hormones so that your body reacts a bit differently to the metformin.
posted by catwoman429 at 7:25 AM on August 27, 2010

I don't have personal experience with PCOS, but I've done some work with Laughing Sage Wellness for other things and they specialize in working with that condition (with wonderful success from what I've seen on their client email group). They offer a free initial session and also frequently offer a free teleclass about PCOS where you can ask questions at the end. (They're based in NYC but do work with people worldwide via Skype, etc.) Just wanted to share in case they can help you figure this out. Good luck!
posted by hansbrough at 9:23 AM on August 27, 2010

Do you have any appointment to get your blood levels checked after being on the medication for a few months? This would tell you if the metformin is working at that dosage, or if you need to up your dosage. You may also need to supplement with various vitamins (B12, D, etc.) and bloodwork can tell you that.

I agree with previous posters about continuing the medication, but would also recommend getting a referral to an endocrinologist. As mentioned, PCOS affects fertility but can cause long-term health issues (diabetes, heart conditions, and more) so it might be worth finding a dr who specializes in it for care.
posted by Kim Reed at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: Many thanks for the answers. Ah well I think I will stick with it for now...

I don't have any symptoms of PCOS, really, apart from the whole annovulatory thing, so that's the most important. But I agree I should see it as a long term thing. My GP did mention blood tests so I will bring that up when I see her next.

Thanks again.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 1:43 PM on August 27, 2010

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