Metformin for PCOS Treatment

Metformin for PCOS Treatment
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Background of PCOS

Metformin for PCOS is often prescribed to women to help control symptoms. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects about 5 to 10 percent of all women, making it the most common female endocrine disorder. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects multiple organ systems of the body and is often caused by hormone insulin problems. PCOS can affect girls as young as eight years old and to women through post-menopause. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility.

Symptoms of PCOS vary among women, but commonly include irregular or absent periods, irregular ovulation, acne, excessive hair growth on the body and face, thinning of scalp hair, accumulation of unruptured follicles on the ovaries and weight management issues. Although there is no cure for PCOS, it can often be managed by a combination of healthy eating and exercise, and in some cases medications like metformin.

PCOS and Metformin

Women with PCOS are often perscribed metformin. The remedy was originally prescribed to individuals with type 2 diabetes to treat elevated blood sugar levels, but is now also prescribed to women with PCOS. Metformin works to improve the cells' response to insulin and helps glucose enter the cell. The result is your body will not be required to make as much insulin, making it easier to level blood sugar needed to maintain or lose weight and improve fertility for those trying to get pregnant. A doctor has to determine if metformin is the best medication for each patient and prescribe the appropriate dosage.

Metformin and Fertility/ Pregnancy Studies

Metformin has been effective in treating women with PCOS that have fertility issues. It can be prescribed to help restore normal ovulation and menstruation. Used during pregnancy, metformin can also decrease the risk of miscarriage.

One benefit of metformin is restoring normal menstruation in women with PCOS. In one study at a Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, 39 out of 43 women with irregular cycles that took metformin reported that it restored their cycles.

Regular menstrual cycles will greatly improve the chance of conceiving for women with PCOS that are trying to get pregnant. A study at the Baylor College of Medicine was conducted with 48 women with PCOS experiencing fertility issues. Upon being given metformin, 19 were able to restore their menstrual cycles and showed signs of ovulation. Another 10 of these women needed clomiphene, a fertility drug, in addition to metformin in order to ovulate. Twenty of the 48 women were able to become pregnant. However, seven of those women miscarried.

Another effect of PCOS is a higher rate of miscarriage or repeated miscarriages. A study conducted at the Hospital de Clinicas in Venezuela, 65 women were given metformin during pregnancy versus 31 who were not. The early pregnancy loss rate in the metformin group was 8.8 percent compared to 41.9 loss in the untreated group. Of those women who miscarried, 11.1 percent of the treated group miscarried again compared to 58.3 percent of the untreated group.

Metformin has also been effective in reducing the rate of gestational diabetes in pregnant women. A study of two groups was done at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. The first was 33 non-diabetic women who got pregnant while on metformin or took it during pregnancy. The second group was 39 women that did not take metformin. Only 3 percent of the metformin group suffered from gestational diabetes, compared to 31 percent who were not given metformin.

Metformin and Weight Loss

Sixty percent of women with PCOS report having problems with weight management. Metformin can can help someone lose weight as a result of restoring normal blood sugar and insulin levels. In clinical trials, metformin has had amazing results for weight loss when compared to FDA approved weight loss medications. A doctor needs to prescribe metformin and you should be aware of any risks, benefits, dosage and side effects. A woman will get the best results from metformin for PCOS treatment if she also makes diet and exercise an important part of her daily lifestyle.


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Infertility Specialist: PCOS, Metformin and Insulin Resistance.

Insulite Labs: Metformin and PCOS.

Natural Health Solutions for PCOS: PCOS and Metformin.

PCOS Support: What is PCOS.