Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition wherein a woman starts making more male hormones, which leads to a hormonal imbalance. This condition shows up in the form of erratic or non-occurrence of menstrual periods as well as growth of hair on facial parts. In some women, hair growth can be witnessed on their body, and may also trigger autoimmune conditions such as diabetes. Drugs are prescribed for the treatment of this medical condition. Among such drugs, metformin is a commonly used medication. Does this drug cause any side effects? It is a wise thing to know more on this before starting the medication plan.

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS may occur among women during their childbearing period of 18 to 45 years. Studies show that many women who are living with PCOS may not even be aware of its existence. As per a recent estimate, as high of 2/3rd of women with PCOS may remain unware of it. This condition can have a harmful impact on your ovaries as well as reproductive system. PCOS can lead to formation of cysts in your ovaries, boost the production of male hormones and can make you skip menstrual cycles. In this process, women may have high level of androgen and a lesser level of progesterone.

The risks factors that trigger this condition are not clearly known. However, medial studies indicate that your genetic makeup plays a big role; presence of blood sugar problems such as insulin resistance may also cause PCOS among women. Last but not least, internal swelling or obesity (a leading cause of inflammation) is also largely attributed to the onset of PCOS. In case of women with insulin resistance, your system may demand more insulin (than what your body makes). As your pancreatic system has to make more than usual level of insulin, an excessive build-up of male hormones ensues.

What is metformin and what are its uses?

Metformin is commonly used for control of high level of blood sugar. It is mostly administered with a balanced diet plan as well as a workout regimen. The active ingredients of this med help prevent likely impairment of kidneys or renal dysfunction, onset of near-fatal conditions such as cardiac arrests, strokes, etc. In some cases, this drug has also been used to treat sexual health conditions as well as a few types of nerve pains or inflammation known as neuritis. Metformin helps your system to respond well to insulin that your system makes, and thus manages problems such as insulin resistance. It can also enable reduction of sugar levels made in the liver.

You need to remember that metformin is never taken through the self-medication route; it is not an over the counter drug. You are advised to take this med under the supervision of a certified doctor. Duration of your dosage plan is influenced by the severity of the underlying medical condition, body weight and also on your body’s reactions to the first few doses.

Use of metformin for the treatment of PCOS

Metformin is known for its capabilities to stabilize menstrual cycles as well as help establish the right balance of hormones – especially, hormones such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone or LH, etc. Long term intake of metformin is known to have normalized menstrual periods in as high as 38% of women. However, women may need to take it more than 18 months to see better results and an effective management of PCOS.

The key chemicals of metformin help induce ovulation. The drug also helps women who are undergoing in vitro treatments by ensuring better ovarian wellbeing. However, the drug is likely to cause a few discomforts. Common among them include cramping of abdominal muscles, nausea and other gastric problems such as vomiting, upset of stomach or indigestion. In some cases, users have developed abdominal discomforts like gas formation, bloating or flatulence. Users may also need to be wary of poor absorption of vitamins – especially, B12 form of vitamin. If left unattended, you may witness blood cell count problems such as anemia.

Metformin essentially is an insulin sensitizer, and is a popular med for the treatment of diabetes. Additionally, it reduces the extent of fatty acids; owing to this, your system reducing the discharge of glucose into the bloodstream. Once glucose levels are reduced, release of insulin also gets decreased. As a net result, sensitivity to insulin is steadily improved.

Side effects of metformin

This drug may cause a few other adverse side effects. These may show up as a metallic taste on your tongue, persistent spells of tiredness as well as lactic acidosis. Incidence of lactic acidosis can be inferred by its distinctive signs such as dizziness, respiratory troubles (wheezing or gasping for breath), faster heartbeats or erratic pulse rates. You may need to seek urgent medical attention for treating the signs of lactic acidosis.

It is important to remember that metformin is prescribed to you as its benefits far outweigh the risks of side effects. It is likely to witness a sudden drop in blood sugar level. You can identity this when you develop tremors, blurring of eyesight, tingling sensation on your palms and feet, excessive levels of sweating, etc. It is safe practice to have glucose pills which can help increase blood sugars in a short span of time. Also, tell your caregiver if you are taking any other diabetic drugs; intake of other such drugs may also lead to a drastic fall in blood sugar level.

In this light, it is a good practice to make a list of all drugs that you are consuming. As a related measure, make a list of all treatment plans you are pursuing. After having shared this list, never make changes to it without telling your caregiving team and / or pharmacist.  Lastly, the abovementioned do not represent a complete list of discomforts and side effects. So, if you witness any unknown or unlisted discomforts, talk to your treating doctor without delay.

In sum, metformin stabilizes menstrual cycles and balances the level of testosterone. Women may have to consume it for a fairly long time to control the effects of PCOS. This drug also helps boost ovarian wellbeing. Metformin is also capable of enhancing the sensitivity to insulin. Users may however complain of a poor absorption of B12 vitamin; a deficiency of which may soon turn into blood cell count related problems. However, for women living with PCOS, it is always safe to talk to a qualified medical practitioner prior to starting to take metformin.

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