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I haven't been on it in a while because my life is completely disrupted by the gastrointestinal side effects. This seems to happen to me even when I fast. Previously, I was on it for 7 years and the gastro stuff never seemed to go away. Do you use any other prescriptions to manage your symptoms? If not, do you use supplements? What kind of results have you gotten from these?

I desperately need to lose weight for health reasons. I am all about body neutrality, so I just want to feel better and be able to do more in the body I'm in. I need to lose half of my body weight (according to BMI things, how accurate this is, I am not sure) which is an intimidating feat for me, but I am hoping to try something new. My GP told me Metformin is my only option and that there's nothing else he can do for me.

I haven't been on it in a while because my life is completely disrupted by the gastrointestinal side effects. This seems to happen to me even when I fast. Previously, I was on it for 7 years and the gastro stuff never seemed to go away. Do you use any other prescriptions to manage your symptoms? If not, do you use supplements? What kind of results have you gotten from these? I desperately need to lose weight for health reasons. I am all about body neutrality, so I just want to feel better and be able to do more in the body I'm in. I need to lose half of my body weight (according to BMI things, how accurate this is, I am not sure) which is an intimidating feat for me, but I am hoping to try something new. My GP told me Metformin is my only option and that there's nothing else he can do for me.

7 comments

[–] GynyHappyPeople 4 points (+4|-0)

I had to stop taking metformin because of side effects.

I’m using supplements prescribed by an endocrinologist instead.

It may be worth asking your GP to look into possible alternatives. There are studies being done on use of supplements like DIM. I’m on a few different ones including DIM and it’s working well for me.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219449/#__ffn_sectitle

[–] eyeswideopen 4 points (+4|-0)

I use berberine instead of metformin. It's been easier on my system (less cramping and intestinal distress). It's prescribed in China for women with PCOS and individuals with type 2 diabetes, and like metformin, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839379/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7028834/

If your GP is not being helpful, I would recommend you ask for a consult with an endocrinologist for a full hormone work up.

[–] linsin 0 points (+0|-0)

Do you find it helps? I've been taking it for 3 months and nada

[–] JooskeRunneboom 3 points (+3|-0)

I never took Metformin although it was pushed on me a couple of times. I am not great with remembering to take a pill every day and I knew the side effects would make me even more resistant to doing so. I eventually lost ~200 lbs without any kind of medical intervention, and now have no PCOS symptoms for the last 8 years.

[–] jennagc 3 points (+3|-0) Edited

I was diagnosed 8 years ago and have always refused to take Metformin because it had terrible side effects for me. I have worked in clinical scientific research for years and my partner is a geneticist, and I have many friends who are doctors, but for some reason I am still THE WORST patient and pretty much never follow "the doctor's orders." Lol So, on one hand, I know how Metformin works and why it is so important for people who have insulin resistance, but there are a bunch of other ways to try to manage blood sugar, you just have to be very diligent.

I am on a low carb diet (less than 100g of carbs per day), and that basically has made it so I can lose weight and stay in shape, while helping manage my blood sugar, which is what Metformin will also help with. Basically what happens with the "insulin resistant" aspect of PCOS is, insulin is a hormone that basically, very much simplifying here, tells your body's cells to begin "absorbing" glucose from your blood stream so that your blood sugar doesn't get, too high; with insulin resistance, your cells basically stop responding to this signal and your blood sugar remains elevated for a longer time than is "good" for your body. If your blood sugar remains too high, it can cause tissue damage, like kidney damage, liver damage, etc. so your body is incentivized to come up with some way to store excess glucose, which it does by creating more adipose tissue (i.e. "fat cells").

Your body creates more adipose tissue so it can more quickly break down the glucose and store it (to get it out of your blood stream), so, in theory, any "blood sugar spike" corresponds to your body either creating new adipose cells, or storing more glucose in the adipose cells you already have. So every blood sugar spike hypothetically makes you fatter. To try to avoid this, you want to keep your blood sugar well-balanced with your activity levels.

If you live a very active lifestyle (by very active, I mean one of those people who is doing HIGH intensity workouts for at least an hour a day) then you can eat a lot of carbs and sugar without creating more fat cells because as soon as glucose hits your blood stream it begins circulating throughout your muscles and being consumed by them immediately. If you live basically anything less than a very active lifestyle and you're over the age of about 25, you should start gradually cutting down your carb intake unless it is high fiber, definitely cut down on sugars unless they come naturally from whole fruits, and increase your non-animal protein intake (also some animal protein is always good, but obviously not applicable if you're vegan or vegetarian; plant based protein is generally much healthier than animal protein, as a rule of thumb), and also increase healthy fats (things like avocados, nuts etc).

Generally speaking, I like a veggie-heavy "lazy" Keto diet because it has always worked best for me and is easier for me to keep up with since there are soooooo many different sources for Keto recipes, shared stories, tips etc. In particular, I think healthy keto full of greens and veggies (i.e. not just bacon and cheese lol, there are definitely those cookbooks too haha) is great for someone with PCOS who lives a relatively sedentary lifestyle - job that requires a lot of sitting, not a lot of free time to work out. I try to do the bulk of my cooking on weekends and freeze portions so I can still eat different meals throughout the week but save leftovers to eat a couple weeks in advance.

Also, I broke my hip several years ago - when I was 24 lol Long story. Anyway, since then I've had to do relatively low-impact exercises. Hands down the best bang for my buck as far as something that builds strength and is great cardio, aaand low impact, is a rowing machine. I live in an apartment building that has a gym but no rower, and gym memberships in my neighborhood are outrageous, so I purchased a concept 2 rowing machine to work out in my apartment. It cost a pretty penny but it was $950 (including shipping) for a top of the line, professional gym-level piece of equipment versus well over a thousand dollars for a top of the line elliptical or treadmill. And it's very easy on the joints, compared to the treadmill or even the elliptical, but a wicked workout. And it's pretty easy to take apart and move (altogether it weighs 57 lbs). I started off just doing 2000 meters a day, no matter how long it took, and then began doing 4000 meters not matter how long it took, and now I basically stick to that or go back to 2000 meters but try to do it as fast as I can. Anyway, there are a lot of youtube videos out there with different exercises etc. but this is what has worked for me and has gotten me to my desired weight and where I don't have my GP crawling up my ass about how I need to lose weight lol.

I also do some basic strength training, like push ups, planks, lunges. But I started off just rowing for a few months.

So, anyway, I am not a doctor, but if I were, I'd be telling you to take Metformin and call it a day hahaha As I'm not a doctor, I say, try a low carb (under 100g/day) diet and perhaps transition to a ketogenic diet (varies from under 50g-under 30g or less carbs per day, but this can be tricky, which is why I say, start with low carb first) to lose excess weight, and some moderate exercise even if just 15 minutes per day to start. ABSOLUTELY CUT OUT SUGAR UNLESS IT COMES FROM FRUIT ---- the LEAST fun recommendation, but honestly probably the most important one. Like, if NOTHING ELSE lol I would try to eat no fiberless sugar, whatsoever. So, if you are REALLY craving sugar, then eat dried fruit like dates, or something that's really sweet, but paired with fiber. Worst case scenario, go for some halo top ice cream if you are really craving SWEET sweet, like their vanilla or chocolate that have a ton of inulin fiber mixed in, and way less calories than regular ice cream. Anyway, this was THE MOST DIFFICULT thing for me to do to lose weight! hahaha But it was probably the most effective change for my weight loss.

Also, I would strongly suggest minimizing dairy if possible, and meat unless it's organic grass fed, because I have read the hormones in those foods can cause hormonal imbalances in women with PCOS. So, I'm not saying don't eat those at all, just try to minimize them and be cognizant of how much you have.

Anyway, that is my non-expert opinion haha But those things have worked well for me for several years now.

[–] jennagc 3 points (+3|-0)

Also, second the comment about Berberine, there are some studies that indicate it demonstrates a similar efficacy to Metformin, which is astonishing. I take that daily, along with milk thistle, chicory (for fiber and energy, also there are date that indicate chicory may aid in stabilizing blood sugar, but this could be due to its fiber content), turmeric with curcumin (supposed to help with arthritis), and vitamin d3.

[–] dixiechick547 1 points (+1|-0)

Have you tried the time release Metformin? I use the regular and eventually got adapted to the gastro issues though they still flare up from time to time. I’ve been on it for 14 years and have adjusted okay.