Metformin - help PCOS medication isn’t helping me lose the weight?
Question posted by Tiffchrish on 30 Sep 2018
Last updated on 1 October 2018 by MeggieGirl
I am 22 years old and I was first diagnosed with PCOS when I was 12 years old when I had two surgeries to take out two teratoma cysts. I never had to take any medication for it at the time But even having pcos I have been skinny my entire life up until the last two years. I have weighed 120 lbs all my life and two years ago I started gaining weight rapidly and now I currently weigh 218 lbs. with no change in diet or exercise I couldn’t figure out the cause of why I was gaining weight so quickly. I went to several different doctors and they had no answers for me but I knew something was wrong with me. I finally went to a fertility clinic specialist and she had told me it was my pcos and did an ultrasound and blood work to confirm It. I was so relieved to finally find out the cause of everything and she put my on a low estrogen birth control as well as metformin. When I first started taking the metformin it made me so sick I couldn’t function. I called my doctor and told her what was going on and she had said I should try taking it at night when the worst of the symptoms are while I was sleeping and to start off taking half of a 500 mg for a week (which would be 250 mg) then the next week increase it by alternating one day take half then the next day take the full pill, and keep doing that process till the desired dosage I was prescribed. Honestly this was a GAME CHANGER! I now am able to take 2,000 mg every night. i never had any terrible symptoms when I did it like this. And I wish doctors wouldn’t recommend taking it during the day because that is when you will be the most sick. Taking it during the night helps a ton.
I did notice a little weight to come off but not a ton. It has been almost a year since I have been on metformin and I haven’t noticed a dramatic weight loss. I have lost maybe 20 lbs. I still feel like I have the symptoms. I have terrible hot flashes, acne, my hair falls out, chronic UTI’s, vaginal changes, etc. I do stick to the low carb diet I’m supposed to and I am eating healthier than I ever had and getting plenty of exercise, and I still can’t seem to lose the weight.
But my concern is why did I all of a sudden gain all this weight in the last 2 years even though I have had pcos since I was 12 years old and I was stick thin? I feel like there is something else wrong with my body and I can’t seem to figure out but I know I’m my gut that something else is wrong and I just want to be how I used to two years ago. Someone please help me!:(
Only your doctor could tell you this through blood work, but PCOS often goes hand in hand with insulin resistance. Think of insulin resistance like this: the cells of your body have a keyhole, and insulin is the key to open the "door" to let nutrients in. With insulin resistance, there is a resistance to the key, and therefore the foods that you eat don't give your body the nutrition it needs. Even though you were eating properly and getting exercise, it's possible that your body thought you were in starvation mode and decided to hold onto everything. Metformin allows the cells to "wake up" and pay attention to the insulin you have to allow things to start working again.
If you think there's something going on with you in addition to PCOS, that would be my best guess.
Best of luck! Meg
1 Oct 2018
After Sdl7777 excellent response I can't add anything except suggest that seeing an endocrinologist and get some blood work done will help you understand what your hormones are doing and what, if anything, you could be doing differently.
30 Sep 2018
Even though you were diagnosed extremely young, your body wasn’t fully developed. The weight gain for me started when I was 19. Metformin is not a weight loss drug; it will not bring you back down to pre weight gain weight. The way I was able to lose weight was by maintaining a less that 20 g carb a day diet and coupling it with light weight training workouts. I read a study that showed cardio does not help us with pcos lose weight. I take barre class. I don’t take metformin; I could never adjust to it. I’m not sure how low carb you are, but I pretty much had to eliminate carbs and change the type of workout I do. I’ve lost 90 lbs and am at my high school weight again. I’ve maintained this for 4 years. I’m extreme. I don’t do cheat days - I literally haven’t eaten carbs in 4 years.
It took me 13 years from diagnosis to lose weight, and I think we are all different, but you may need to drop lower on carbs and look into light weight based exercise like barre or Pilates.
It isn’t odd for you to gain the weight when you did. Most people I know who did gain weight from PCOS it all happened around the same time. It is hormone based. Remember, this is an endocrine disorder not a gynecological disorder. Infertility is a side effect. Your hormones change as you get older, and your testosterone probably jumped at the time the weight gain started.