My gyno prescribed metformin 500 mg 2 x day for PCOS. He said it was an anti-diabetic but that it is also taken for PCOS. I have had a hard time managing my weight and he thought that it would help. Well I just saw a gastroenterologist for some other issues, and he said I was on a lot of medication, which I agreed, but I take them all because I need to. He asked if I had diabetes because I take metformin, and I said No, that I take it for PCOS and that I was maybe pre-diabetic because I haven't been managing my weight well. He said metformin the purpose of metformin was to utilize sugar by turning it into fat, so it was not going to help me loose weight, it would do the opposite. This thoroughly confused me. I said I was under the impression that it was to keep your sugar leveled... we started to get into a disagreement so I just said ok. Well I am really upset. I have been on it for several months. At first it made me really sick but not so much anymore. But I haven't lost any weight. I am just really confused now. Can anyone offer me their advice, experience, or opinion... it would be appreciated. Thanks.
The following explain in detail what your gyn is hoping to accomplish:
Metformin, sold under the trade name Glucophage, is used to treat diabetes, but several studies show that it also helps non-diabetics to lose weight by reducing hunger (1).
You may be overweight because your body makes too much insulin, especially if your store your fat primarily in your belly. When you eat, your blood sugar level rises. The higher it rises, the more insulin your pancreas releases. Insulin makes you fat by acting on your brain to make you hungry, your liver to manufacture fat, and the fat cells in your belly to fill with fat. So the treatment for this type of obesity is to avoid foods that cause the highest rise in blood sugar and to take medications that prevent your blood sugar levels from rising too high.
Avoid bakery products, pastas and all foods made from flour, fruit juices and everything with added sugar. Eat fruits and root vegetables such as potatoes only with meals.
After you eat, sugar goes from your intestines into your bloodstream, and then immediately into your liver. Then your liver releases sugar back into your bloodstream to cause your blood sugar level to rise. To keep blood sugar levels from rising too high, your pancreas release insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin makes you hungry all the time and causes your liver to convert extra calories to fat and it constricts arteries to cause heart attacks. You need insulin to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high to cause diabetes, nerve damage, heart attacks, strokes and kidney damage. Glucophage reduces sugar release from your liver to prevents blood sugar levels from rising too high, so your body doesn't need to produce as much insulin that makes you hungry and causes your liver to make fat (3,13,14).
Glucophage lowers insulin levels (4), prevents many of the side effects of diabetes and can be used by people who want to lose weight. However, Glucophage is not effective when your blood is acidic from excess lactic acid and recent research shows that exercise, which raises lactic acid, does not cause blood acid levels to rise enough to reduce Glucophage's benefits (5). Glucophage, itself, does not raise blood lactate levels and is therefore considerably safer than doctors originally thought. Since Glucophage lowers insulin, diabetics should be placed on Glucophage to lower their requirements for all other medications used to treat diabetes (6).
A common cause of obesity in women is called polycystic ovary syndrome, which is caused by having high blood levels of insulin. Glucophage helps these women to lose weight (7-12). See the report on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) in the Women's Health section.
Glucophage is a safe medication that prevents blood sugar levels from rising too high, but you defeat its effects by taking foods that cause rapid rises in blood sugar levels. So taking Glucophage after eating two bagels will not help you to lose weight. I prescribe 500 mg of Glucophage to be taken a few minutes before you eat, usually three times a day. You should not take it if you have kidney disease, heart failure or any medical condition that could make your blood acidic. There are many drugs that cannot be taken with Glucophage, so check with your doctor about all your medications. If you have nausea or diarrhea, take half a pill (250 mg) in the middle of a meal once a day, and if you then have no symptoms, try to work up to one half a pill before each meal.
An excellent website for your condition is pcosupport.org
Well for one thing, I think your gastroenterologist should stick to the digestive tract. Here is what my resource says about how it works: "decreases production of hepatic glucose and intestinal glucose absorption and increases insulin sensitivity" It also says it is used for PCOS. It does not explain how it helps this however.
metformin will only work for weight loss in some patients, and in others only at the highest dose possible which is 2550 mg a day. 1000mg a day might not help any with weight loss. I took 1500mg and never saw any weight loss until I took 2550mg and lost 20 lbs in one month and got pregnant when I didn't think I even could. after a while your GI tract gets used to the med. but, if you don't take metformin and you have a fasting insulin level over 10, you are PCOS and your risk of developing type 2 diabetest grows every single day. by taking metformin we lower our fasting insulin therefore reducing the risk of developing T2D. Before metformin my fasting insulin was 40 and after 3 mths of 1500mg metformin a day my fasting insulin went to 8. So while I didn't lose weight I was not making extra insulin which was a big help. I still take met and I haven't lost any weight. I have never had high glucose, even in my 4 pregnancies but I make extra insulin when Not on metformin. I hope you are better now as I see this ? is old.
I do have Type II diabetes and for the first 6 months on Metformin, 1500 mgs per day, I lost about 25 pounds. That has stopped now and I've gained about 10 pounds back (months 6-10). It is helping lower my blood sugar by the grace of God! because I haven't been able yet to break my addiction to sugar. Hopefully soon! ElizaJane
I was diagnosed with type II diabetes 6/15/15 and prescribed metformin. My A1C was 7.8 and my cholesterol was 240. I am 6' tall and weighed 232 lbs. I took the news quite seriously, followed the doctors diabetic diet plan, began moderate exercising and took the metformin. Eight weeks later, my A1C was 6.6 and my cholesterol was 210 and my weight was 205 lbs. (27 lbs. in 8 weeks). I suspect that the metformin did contribute to this improvement but I attribute most of it to an overall lifestyle change. One thing I have noticed is that my appetite has been curbed since taking metformin and I have zero desire for sweets. It has now been ten weeks since the diagnosis and I am still losing weight, just not as rapidly (200 lbs.). I feel better than I have in 15 years, just regret that it took diabetes to cause me to commit to a life style change..
- Metformin Information for Consumers
- Metformin Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Metformin (detailed)
Search for questions
Still looking for answers? Try searching for what you seek or ask your own question.
Updated 19 Aug 2015 • 2 answers
Updated 29 May 2014 • 1 answer
Updated 14 Mar 2017 • 1 answer
Updated 10 Sep 2016 • 1 answer
Updated 1 Oct 2018 • 3 answers