Use of Metformin for Fertility

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Mon 03/18/2013 belly

Metformin is not a fertility drug. Instead, it is sometimes used by physicians to treat their patients with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant. Using metformin to treat women with infertility is actually an off-label use of the drug.

Metformin basics Metformin is considered an insulin-sensitizing drug. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance. This is when the body’s cells stop reacting to normal levels of insulin. The cells become resistant. The body thinks there is not enough insulin in the system so more insulin is produced than needed. There is a connection between insulin, PCOS and fertility likely having something to do with reproductive hormones. Increases in insulin levels seem to lead to increased levels of androgens, a male hormone. High androgen levels are common to PCOS and create difficulty when trying to conceive. Metformin helps to lower the excess levels of insulin in the body. Other drugs include rosiglitazone and pioglitazone.

Insulin resistance Since metformin treats insulin resistance, it can be helpful to women with PCOS by regulating reproductive hormones and restarting ovulation. For some women, menstrual cycles will become more regular making it easier to anticipate optimal times for conception.

Clomid resistant Additionally, some women are resistant to clomid, a fertility drug. Sometimes, when a woman is clomid-resistant, if metformin is taken for several months in advance of the clomid, the woman is less resistant and the fertility drug may work.

Repeated miscarriage Women with PCOS experience miscarriage more often than other women. Some research has indicated that women using metformin may experience miscarriage less often. Continued use of metformin during the first trimester of pregnancy may help women with PCOS to retain their pregnancies. The safety of using the drug this way is not known.

Weight loss Not to be confused with a diet strategy, metformin can be used to help women who suffer from obesity as a consequence of their PCOS. Losing weight with PCOS can be difficult and women who carry a lot of weight are at risk for diabetes as well as infertility. Weight loss can help regulate ovulation and achieve pregnancy. Metformin, a diet plan and exercise program could help.

Always talk to your doctor about fertility strategies and your interest in metformin as a possible help to infertility caused by PCOS.

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