How does Metformin originally called Glucophage help with fertility? And is it suitable for infertile women who don't have PCOS?
Metformin, orginally sold as Glucophage, is a diabetic medication suppresses glucose production in the liver. It is especially suitable for people with Type 2 diabetes or even prediabetes who are obese, but have normal kidney function. Metformin is unique in that it helps prevent the cardiovascular problems associated with diabetes. It reduces LDL cholesterol and triclycerides.
Unfortunately, metformin has not been proven to be totally safe during pregnancy, making it a bad choice of drug for gestational diabetes in most cases. That doesn't mean Metformin can't help women of childbearing age at all, though! The drug has become really well known in fertility circles, as a PCOS treatment that helps PCOS patients who want to get pregnant lose enough weight to make this possible. Metformin may be given where women have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or over, and who have not been able to lose weight in any other way. Metformin can help kick start ovulation in PCOS sufferers who are anovulatory, either in conjunction with Clomid, after Clomid fails to work, or before Clomid depending on your doctor, but even more on the country you are residing in.
Metformin and PCOS
PCOS prevents the ovaries from producing the hormones needed to regulate menstrual cycles, while there is an excess of male hormones called androgens. PCOS doesn't just go hand in hand with insulin resistance (like diabetes!), it also often comes with infertility. Women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are often obese, and weight loss may seem like Mission Impossible even with the help of a dietician and the PCOS diet and right eating habits. Those with PCOS have an extremely high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Metformin, consequently, makes sense. Obese women with PCOS who would like to become pregnant often have great success with Metformin. Losing "only" five percent of her total body weight may well get a PCOS patient ovulating so she actually has a serious shot at getting pregnant! Studies show that Metformin increase ovulation and pregnancy rates in women who suffer from PCOS, especially when combined with the ovulation-inducing drug Clomid (Clomiphene). If you feel you could benefit from this treatment, discussing your options with your doctor is a good first step. Do look the guidelines for your country up before you talk to your doctor. If you know you are in a country where Metformin is seen as a last resort, you will be able to prepare, and see a dietician first.
Metformin for other causes of infertility?
"Hi ladies! My doctor wants me to go on Metformin to improve my egg quality. I don't have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or anything similar. Will Metformin help me conceive?" Here, I'm paraphrasing several forum posts I found across the web, written by women from different countries including the United States. Comments like those make you wonder if Metformin improves egg quality, induces ovulation, or has any other impact on the fertility of a woman who is not suffering from PCOS, Type 2 diabetes, or prediabetes. Metformin is not a fertility candy that will help anyone, regardless of the cause of their infertility. When your doctor suggests Metformin, or Metformin and Clomid, without having any idea what the underlying cause of your infertility could be it is most certainly time to seek a second opinion, or to look for another healthcare provider. You are better off engaging in male and female fertility testing to establish the reason you cannot conceive naturally than to try anything in the hope it will work. Metformin may be excellent for PCOS, but it's not harmless.
What if you can't conceive naturally, even after Metformin?
Fertility medications are almost always the first line of treatment for infertility caused by PCOS. In addition to Metformin and Clomid, Femara and injectable Gonadotropins are possible drugs that can help women who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. When medical options have been exhausted and pregnancy has not been achieved, IVF is a very good option for couples who are affected by PCOS.