Metformin side effects : Hi all, I’m newly... - PCOS UK (Verity)

PCOS UK (Verity)

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Metformin side effects

emmak77
emmak77

Hi all,

I’m newly diagnosed with PCOS and been prescribed metformin. I take 500mg 3x per day, as well as Alpha Inofolic.

Since starting the medication, I’m very bloated, having stomach and pelvic cramping and having frequent bowel movements.

How long until this settles please?

I have other health conditions- Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia, so would also love to hear from anyone who suffers from similar x

17 Replies

That seems like a high dose to start you off on - I'm not surprised you are having stomach and digestive issues.

When I was prescribed Metformin initially it was at a lower dose and it took 1+ months for all digestive and stomach issues to settle down. However at higher doses like you are on now I never ended up adjusting to it. This is NOT everyone's experience. However, for myself I reacted to Metformin in a way that meant I could never be far from a toilet as when the need to go hit, I had to immediately rush to a toilet, and it happened several times a day. I stuck with it maybe six months on my longest attempt (I tried increasing on a couple different occassions) and it never improved (at a dose similar to yours). I started with 500 then went to 1000 and then 1500 a day. At 500 and 1000 I hit a plateau both times where it stopped affecting my weight and 1500 just wasn't sustainable for me with how sick I became (and never improved).

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to Missy100

I started on 500 but only for 3 days, then 1000 for 3 days, then 1500. So I did increase quickly!

I’m hoping it will settle in a couple of weeks because I look pregnant!

What do you mean about it stopped affecting your weight please?

Thank you for your help x

Missy100
Missy100 in reply to emmak77

I was placed on the Metformin for PCOS related weight gain. I dropped some weight at 500 then it plateaued and I was increased to 1000 and lost a bit more weight. It plateaued again and my weight started to creep up again. When I was increased to the 1500 I lost weight again, but I was also extremely ill the entire time I was on it. Bloated,nausea, uncontrollable diarrhea, cramping....so really it wasn't much wonder my weight loss was maintained during that time. However, the weight loss itself did plateau again so by the end of it I was just maintaining again. My GP advice was to cease taking it at that point because it was having such a huge impact on my health due to my inability to tolerate it.

Emtiggy
Emtiggy in reply to Missy100

Hi there

I have been on metformin 3000mg for 3 years prescribed by an endocrine specialist for insulin resistance, hetold me it is the only drug that will offer any relief from the side effects of PCOS and it does help weight, I am older and past age of pregnancy - so not taking it for that. It is difficult when you first start taking it , however as a nurse I understood that if symptoms are not settling you can switch to the SR (slow release) version so you could try that provided your dose in under 2000mg I think. Also always take it after your meal as if you don’t eat enough it makes all these symptoms worse in my experience. Hope this helps, good luck

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to Emtiggy

Thank you for your response.

You say it’s difficult when you first start it. Did you have a similar reaction? Mines definitely settling but I’m still very bloated.

I take it with a meal, thank you.

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to Missy100

Gosh, you really did suffer whilst on it!

Thank you for your sharing your experience with it and hopefully it settles down for me.

Is there anything else you have found helps with your pcos? With all my other health conditions, i already follow a very healthy life style, I take that many tablets I rattle, I get plenty of sleep etc. But as a newbie to pcos, any advice would be appreciated x

Emtiggy
Emtiggy in reply to emmak77

Hi

I was diagnosed with PSOS at 15, that was 1990 and all that was known then was it would effect my chances to get pregnant. I didn’t understand enough but I had symptoms of heave periods and excess hair. GP wasn’t really helpful and Gyne doc just said I would have to go on the contraceptive pill to control it - they didn’t really agree with me and altered mood, I think it’s trial and error as it would appear we all have slightly diff responses to meds. Anyway I eventually found the merena coil was the best option for me and I’ve had that for 14 years. My weight has been an ongoing prob and as I was getting older I knew that PCOS puts us at risk of other health conditions I had tried every slimming diet and exercise and nothing worked. So three years ago I paid to see a professor of endocrinology and it’s the best thing I ever did. He discovered I was intolerant to gluten, had b12 deficiency and I haven’t looked back. He said I was holding all the energy from food in my body it wasn’t releasing so I felt constant tiredness and I was seriously over weight. So I take metformin and I take a testosterone suppressant. I have lost about 8 stone. No excess hair and I feel great for the first time in my life and am 46 tomorrow!! Sorry for the long message, hope it helps Em x

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to Emtiggy

Thank you for your all your help.

The best thing I did was pay private too. As I said in my first post, I have quite a few health conditions and she has really helped me.

Despite being gluten/dairy/sugar free etc, exercising regularly, taking my private thyroid meds (which are much better than the standard levo you get on the nhs), and sleeping a minimum or 9hrs per night I’ve still been struggling with weight gain and tiredness more than anything.

I’m hoping this pcos diagnosis and being put on metformin will be the missing piece of the puzzle.

I’m so pleased you’ve found what works for you x

Missy100
Missy100 in reply to emmak77

PCOS has a variety of symptoms and not everyone has the same ones. Also the severity can vary.

Personally, I've never had children. I was told that there was less than a 1% chance I would get pregnant naturally, without IVF, and possibly not even then. When considering the factors I chose not to pursue it. This does not mean that your situation will be the same - everyone is different.

In addition to weight gain and fertility I have excess hair growth, the hair on my head is considerably thinner than it use to be (so thin in some areas that I do have small bald patches) and my periods have always been troublesome. While period issues do accompany PCOS, my exact symptoms could all have been further complicated by Endo. Birth control tends to help a lot. For a stretch I found the depo needle worked best for me as it eliminated my periods and the accompanying symptoms for a time. I took it for the max length of time recommended without a break. Later in life I was told I could no longer take estrogen in any form for the rest of my life and I no longer tolerate progesterone well mentally so it is not an avenue I use now. However due to further complications which are believed to be Endo related (rather than PCOS) I take a different medication for excess bleeding.

In respect of excess hair growth a hormonal specialist may be able to prescribe something that possibly may help. I can't recall the name of what I was put on off the top of my head (it's been a number of years) but it is also prescribed as a water tablet. It helps some but unfortunately was not effective for me.

I've tried a variety of hair removal options and these days rely on self plucking (or waxing) for my face and shaving elsewhere. I do tweeze hair on my face almost every day. In addition I dermaplane my face to remove peach fuzz like hair on my face. There are other options you can explore depending on the amount of hair, where it grows, and how much you want to invest. There are bleaches, chemical hair removal creams, lazer removal, etc.

Lastly, hair loss on my head. I try to be gentle with my hair. I don't over brush and when I do brush it I am very gentle with it. I wash it only as needed and I avoid hair products that might damage it and I don't use any heat treatments other than to partly dry it with a hair dryer. I also don't style it in tightly bound styles either that pull on the hair or with elastics repeatedly used in the same place day to day. The right vitamins (for hair and nail health) can help the over all condition as well. While none of these stop the loss of hair it does ensure that the hair I have is in the best condition I can keep it in and it minimises breakage, which helps the over all appearance.

Some people find cutting out dairy and/wheat and/or meat has made an impact for them for bloating, cramping and IBS like symltoms. I have tried all three. I spent the longest as a pescatarian (vegetarian but consumed eggs and fish). I find as long as I limit the dairy and wheat in my diet it doesn't help any more to eliminate it. I started eating meat again after several years and find chicken and turkey are fine but if I eat other meats it does have an impact on me. Again, it is one of those things that can vary person to person.

I'm not sure if any of the above is in any way helpful, but hopefully there is something you can take away from it. So much of PCOS relies on the individual with both symptoms and treatments.

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to Missy100

Many thanks for your lengthy response, I really appreciate you taking the time to send me all that information.

I’m already gluten and dairy free due to my Hashimoto’s disease, but I shall consider and research all other options.

Thanks again!

I took it once, basically it was coming out of both ends on that day. So I was recommended not to take ot anymore. The doctors themselves have called it a horrible drug to me. I have seen people on here happily take it, I think everyone seems to have their own experience with this drug, good and bad.

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to LisaEB

Ouch! Definitely didn’t agree with you then.

Have you found anything else that works for you?

LisaEB
LisaEB in reply to emmak77

Nope, I take alpha infolic and try lose weight with exercise and eating healthily. I am eating about 800-1000 calories at the moment and walking 10,000 steps everyday. I've lost over a stone. If the gyms were open then I'd head to the gym, will start running again when it's warmer. I personally think it is better not to take these drugs if you can.

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to LisaEB

I’m also on alpha infolic at the recommendation of my consultant.

I’ve come on my period today, day 30 of my cycle! That never happens! I’ve only been taking the new medication for 11 days so I’m amazed.

Congrats on the weight loss ☺️

LisaEB
LisaEB in reply to emmak77

That is good news :)

Ushm
Ushm in reply to LisaEB

Try dropping the Metformin and only taking inofolic alpha for three months and see how u go! You don't always have to take a drug for diabetes with strong side effects manage your pcos. I think there was a recent study that showed the outcomes are the same on either. Might as well take something that is a mild natural supplement first. You can always go back on Metformin if it doesn't work. Remember pcos is for life u need to find a way to manage it long-term its alot of trial and error. Good luck lovely x

emmak77
emmak77 in reply to Ushm

Thank you. The side effects went away after a couple more weeks so I’ve stuck with it. My cycles are now 30 days! X

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