Thursday, October 8, 2009

metformin's side effects

I've previously blogged about my metformin intake, and this time I will talk about its side effects. What I've experienced are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and gas but there are a lot more side effects of metformin.

  • Vitamin B12 malabsorption (in the long run lack of Vit B12 can contribute to megaloblastic anemia)

  • hair loss (which is also one of the symptoms of PCOS)

  • lactic acidosis - the most serious side effect but this is also rare

  • loss of appetite (hmmm...I wish I had this one so that I can lose more weight as I'm defintely overweight)

  • GI disturbance(vomiting, nausea and diarrhea falls in this category)

  • malaise, fatigue and achiness
As in all drug intake the benefits must be weighed with the disadvantages. And since metformin's benefits outweigh its disadvantages I am taking it for my PCOS.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PCOS and metformin

Metformin. The medicine prescribed by my OB-gyne after I was diagnosed with PCOS. I am familiar with metformin because my grandmother took it for her diabetes. So that is my only knowledge about the drug, that it is for diabetes. So I was surprised to be prescribed with it. Turns out that metformin is beneficial to women with PCOS.
According to Natural Health Solutions for PCOS metformin works in 3 ways.
  1. Metformin decreases the absorption of dietary carbohydrates through the intestines.
  2. It reduces the production of glucose by the liver. The liver uses the raw material in your food to create a reserve supply of blood sugar. When your body experiences stress, the liver releases the reserve glucose to supply your brain and muscles with an immediate source of energy to cope with the stress. Metformin suppresses the production of this reserve fuel.
  3. Perhaps most importantly, metformin increases the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that delivers glucose into your cells to be burned as fuel, or stored. Women with PCOS frequently have "insulin resistance", a condition where excessive amounts of insulin are required in order to get blood glucose moved into cells, where it belongs. Metformin helps your body to transport glucose with relatively less insulin, thus lowering your insulin levels. Chronically high levels of either glucose or insulin in your blood contributes to obesity, heart disease, infertility, and certain cancers, as well as the development of diabetes.

When I was prescribed with Metformin I had to start with 500mg for a week. Then on the second week the dosage was doubled. And finally on the third week I was instructed to drink 1500mg of Metformin. This is the dosage that I have been drinking for the past years. Eversince I started my Metformin intake my period has become regular. Although like most drugs Metformin also have its risks and side-effects which I will be talking about in another post.

PCOS and genes

Can PCOS be inherited? Most researchers think that PCOS runs in families. Women with PCOS tend to have a mother or sister with PCOS. Still, there is no proof that PCOS is inherited.
Among my immediate family I am the only with PCOS. Although both my sisters have irregular menstruation too. The eldest is married and was able to bear child. The youngest is still single and dreads going to the OB to have herself checked.