Metformin for PCOS & Weight Loss

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Metformin is used for diabetes prevention in women with PCOS. (Image: milosducati/iStock/Getty Images)

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition caused by an over-production of the luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland. This over-production causes a hormonal imbalance in estrogen, progesterone and insulin. This results in symptoms such as facial hair growth, weight gain, infertility, ovarian cysts and type 2 diabetes. Although some women don’t show these symptoms initially, their physicians may prescribe metformin as a way to prevent diabetes and some may prescribe this medication to treat symptoms of PCOS and aid in weight loss.

Metformin

Metformin is a medication that is usually used to treat type 2 diabetes. Metformin works by controlling the level of glucose in the blood, by minimizing the amount of glucose your blood absorbs from food and the amount your liver produces.

Insulin and PCOS

Women with PCOS have an increased level of insulin, which puts these women at risk for developing type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance. This risk is increased if a woman with this condition becomes overweight or obese. Women with PCOS may gain weight easily due to the increased insulin level and may also find it very difficult to lose this weight. For this reason, women are usually told to go on a low-glycemic index diet, which shuns foods that cause spikes in blood insulin after consuming them. In addition to dietary changes, women are also encouraged to exercise for 60 minutes daily to help lower insulin levels.

Metformin and PCOS

In addition to going on a low-glycemic diet, women with PCOS may be prescribed metformin to lower their insulin levels. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are overweight are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, due to becoming insulin resistant. However, the Center for Young Women’s Health states that young women who take metformin are less likely to develop this condition.

Metformin and Weight Loss

The Center for Young Women’s Health states that women who take metformin in combination with modifying their diets and exercising are able to both lose weight and lower their blood sugar. Even though this medication can be prescribed for this condition, it is not FDA approved for use in this regard.

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