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Metformin and PCOS

All about Metformin and PCOS

It’s important to know about Metformin and PCOS. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive endocrine disorder that affects approximately 10% of reproductive age women. It causes menstrual irregularity due to disruption of normal ovulatory mechanisms. PCOS also displays increased male hormones in the circulation, which cause increased coarse facial/body hair and acne. Many women with PCOS are obese. However, lean women can also have PCOS.

Facts for women about Metformin and PCOS

One of the fundamental metabolic abnormalities in PCOS is insulin resistance. This is especially more common and profound in women who are obese. Resistance to insulin and glucose intolerance can eventually develop into Type 2 diabetes.

A few years ago, it was common practice to start women on a medication called Metformin (glucophage) as soon as they are diagnosed with PCOS. Metformin is a medication that improves the sensitivity to insulin. Through subsequent studies we now know that Metformin therapy is best only if a woman actually has glucose intolerance. Otherwise it is not of any significant benefit.

In order to diagnose glucose intolerance it is important to perform a 2 hour glucose tolerance test, a simple fasting glucose is not sufficient. If the diagnosis is made, then the therapeutic dose of Metformin is 1500 mg. If glucose intolerance is not present, then it is not to the patient’s benefit to subject them to the side effects of Metformin.

Get testing and treatment

For those patients with PCOS who are reading this, it may be of benefit to discuss with your doctor, whether you have been tested for glucose intolerance and if Metformin is of benefit to you.

Contact us to learn more about Metformin and PCOS.

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