Approximately 8 to 10 percent of women of childbearing age suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). A common treatment for this disorder comes in the form of a drug called metformin. Also known as Glucophage, metformin helps control blood sugar levels. This is important for women with PCOS, who usually have insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. By helping control blood sugar, hormones in the body are regulated, allowing a woman to ovulate.
Speak to your gynecologist about the possibility that you may suffer from PCOS. He may run tests to confirm or refer you to a reproductive endocrinologist--a doctor who specializes in both the reproductive and endocrine systems and how they interact with one another.
Take any and all medication exactly as advised by your doctor. You will likely start metformin slowly, gradually building up to a full dose.
Be prepared for side effects. Up to 25 percent of women experience diarrhea. This often improves or resolves over time, but if it becomes too bothersome you may choose to discuss other options with your doctor.
Monitor your body for ovulation. You may choose to use a home ovulation kit or have your doctor monitor you. Have intercourse at least every other day, or more often if desired, around the time you are ovulating to improve your chances of conceiving.
Continue taking metformin during the first trimester of pregnancy. In 2001, Dr. Charles Glueck noted that continuing metformin during at least the first trimester reduced the risk of miscarriage.
Tips & Warnings
- Metformin is not an infertility treatment. If you do not suffer from PCOS, metformin will not help you get pregnant.
- It may take several months for you to begin ovulating. Your doctor may also prescribe other fertility drugs to help you ovulate.
- Do not drink alcohol while taking metformin. It increases your risk of developing lactic acidosis, a potentially fatal condition.