Metformin + PCOS

This article was written by my previous Nutrition Grad Student, Kimmie Singh. She is a fat woman of color who experiences PCOS. You can find out more information about her work now as a dietitian here.

“But I don’t have high blood sugar? Why am I on the diabetes drug Metformin?”

Metformin, aka Glucophage, is a common treatment option for PCOS and many wonder why it is chosen.

{Side note: in order to understand the role of Metformin, you might want to review the previous post on PCOS and insulin.}

The state of insulin resistance so common with PCOS promotes an environment where extra glucose and lots of insulin hang out in the bloodstream. That glucose wants to get in your cells to give you energy (and that’s why you are so tired all the time!). Those very high insulin levels seen in PCOS drain you even more and are behind the acanthosis nigricans, carb cravings, irregular periods, and even affects your sleep.

 

 

 

 

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Grab a FREE download from Julie here.

Metformin steps in making your cells more sensitive to insulin: that’s why it’s referred to as an insulin sensitizer. It helps the glucose actually get in your cells, giving you the energy you need. Many report having more energy and less carb cravings after starting metformin.

Metformin has another job: it stops the liver from making and sending out so much glucose. Most people connect Metformin with blood sugar since it is a common diabetes drug.

Although it affects blood sugar, most people with PCOS on metformin have normal blood sugar levels. Also, insulin levels are MUCH higher in PCOS than diabetes so more Metformin is necessary compared to people with diabetes.

Metformin affects more than just insulin and glucose.

In addition to reducing blood glucose and insulin levels, Metformin has been shown to improve menstrual irregularities, fertility, and ovulation rates.

Metformin may also slow the progression of type 2 Diabetes and improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

When taken at it’s current therapeutic dose of 1500-2000 mg, Metformin can play a major role in managing PCOS. A lot of people swear by it, yet others can’t tolerate it.

I’m one of those people that can’t tolerate Metformin. It left me with GI distress, energy crashes, and dry skin. If Metformin doesn’t work for you, supplemental inositol is another great insulin sensitizer.

To reduce the side effects of Metformin, Julie recommends:

  • Take it with a meal (like a whole meal not a snack)
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions
  • Start at a smaller dose and build up
  • Stay hydrated

Want to explore more non diet options to help manage your PCOS, promote health AND healing?

Click here for details on Julie’s PCOS and Food Peace course.

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Campbell, R., White, J. R., & Saulie, B. A. (1996). Metformin: a new oral biguanide. Clinical Therapeutics, 18(3), 360-371. doi:10.1016/s0149-2918(96)80017-8

Diamanti-Kandarakis, E., Economou, F., Palimeri, S., & Christakou, C. (2010). Metformin in polycystic ovary syndrome. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 192-198. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05679.x

Mathur, R., Alexander, C., Yano, J., Trivax, B., & Azziz, R. (2008). Use of metformin in polycystic ovary syndrome. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,596-609. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2008.09.010

Ozcimen, E. E., Uckuyu, A., Ciftci, F. C., & Zeyneloglu, H. B. (2009). The effect of metformin treatment on ovarian stromal blood flow in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 280(2), 263-269. doi:10.1007/s00404-008-0904-0

 

 

PCOS + Insulin {Part 1}

This article was written by my previous Nutrition Grad Student, Kimmie Singh. She is a fat woman of color who experiences PCOS. You can find out more information about her work now as a dietitian here.

Are you are excited to learn about insulin and glucose?

😂😂😂😂😂😂

I appreciate the excitement meter will be low for this one. In fact, I may have completely lost your attention at insulin. Before writing this I asked my friends and family what comes to mind when they hear “insulin and glucose,” and they suddenly seemed extremely uninterested and unenthusiastically mumbled, “I don’t know…diabetes?”

You may be feeling similar feelings of boredom, and to be frank, I don’t blame you.

I felt pretty uninterested in learning about insulin and glucose until I realized how much they impact my PCOS. 

If you are reading this, then you have insulin and glucose to thank, literally. They are crucial to fuel everything you do. Whether it’s lifting a finger to click “play next” on Netflix, reading an awesome series on PCOS *wink*, or running a marathon, insulin and glucose play a role.

But please, don’t just take my word for it. Continue reading and learn for yourself.

Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?

Grab a FREE download from Julie here.

So, let’s take it back to basics. Insulin is a hormone. If you have PCOS, you are probably sick of hearing about hormones by now. I know the feeling, but insulin is a little different from the hormones that may come to mind.

Insulin plays a key role in getting energy from food. 

After you eat a meal, your body absorbs the glucose from the digested food. So whether you are eating carrots or a piece of cake, your body will absorb glucose from your food. This glucose will be transported through your blood to reach the cells that need energy.

So after you eat, your blood glucose level will increase as glucose travels to your cells for energy. In response to this surge in blood glucose your pancreas will release insulin. Insulin and glucose go hand in hand. Think of insulin as the gatekeeper for the cells- it allows the cells to take up glucose for energy.

So, in a nutshell, your body needs energy to think, move, and function. The primary source of energy for your cells is glucose. Insulin allows glucose to enter your cells. 

You may find yourself wondering why I’m explaining insulin and glucose in a series about PCOS. Well, people with PCOS tend have more insulin in circulation, and this affects how your body gets energy and stores fat. A little insight: people with PCOS have MUCH more insulin than folks with diabetes so the experience is different and more intense.

These super high insulin levels are behind the massive cravings PCOS is known for and most don’t understand. 

Now that you get the key roles of glucose and insulin, the next post will explain how they work differently for people with PCOS.

Want to explore more non diet options to help manage your PCOS, promote health AND healing?

Click here for details on Julie’s PCOS and Food Peace course.

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