Metformin

We’re home! I am unseemly-excited about this, which makes me sound like an ungrateful twatweasel, because the In-Laws were darlings and we had a lovely peaceful Christmas, bendy stale rice-cakes and accidental wine-poisoning notwithstanding (basically, red wine, even in small quantities, even very cooked in soups and sauces etc., will, after several doses, make my sodding tongue swell up and my oesophagus burn. Not as alarming and extravagant as my reaction to white wine, but still).

However, now, home-version, at 3pm on a weekday afternoon, H and I are in pyjamas still, and playing computer games, listening to pod-casts, making soup, eating chocolate, and swearing out loud with impunity. And blogging! Hi!

So! I brought you all here today to talk to you about Metformin (good link, hey?). I’ve been on it for a few months now, you see. I think I have gathered data. Are you interested? Tough, I am: -

  • Traditional side effects – Um. When I first geared up from two pills a day to three, and then also ate several pieces of cake, I did in fact have the Officially Endorsed Buttsplosion, and it was grotesque, and if that happens to you often, oh I am so very, very sorry, because eurgh. Otherwise, my side-effects are as follows, even when eating cake and chocolate (feel free to hate me. You’re welcome): Nada. Zip. Sorry. OK, so if I forget to take the pill straight after a meal and whang it down any old how with a slug of milk (goat’s milk, natch. I am a snowflake after all), I feel very faintly sick for a few minutes, and if I eat a mahoossive quantity of sugary food I get wind, but other than that? Gastrointestinal distress, nil; May, happy.
  • Odder side effects – Absolutely to my astonishment, sugar cravings. OK, so I always had a sweet tooth (and, incidentally, having a sweet tooth is not a moral weakness, and all of you thinking of being smug in the comments because you don’t have a sweet tooth, really, do be quiet. It’s no more to your credit than being a natural brunette or having small feet is (Can you tell my family get on my tits? Can you? Can you?)). And when I’d eat sweets I’d get a bit of a head-rush followed by a bit of a sugar-crash (yes, we know my insulin leveller is not clever). On Metformin, I do not get the rush or the crash, but now my body is under the impression I haven’t eaten any sugar at all and keeps shrieking for more. ‘But I had a gluten-free brownie just 30 minutes ago!’ ‘No you did not I want sugar gimme sugar.’ And so on. So, I was clearly addicted to the rush-crash thing. Which is worrying. And so, now I am on Metformin, I have to spend even longer talking myself down off the Gimme Chocolate Gimme Now Ledge. And my sweetie consumption did in fact go up for a while. Which brings me to…
  • Weight loss – not a fucking ounce. In fact, I promptly put about five pounds on when I first started taking the bloody drug, and have only just lost them again. I think. I’m sick of weighing myself and haven’t for ages. I’m going by waist-measurement and how my trousers fit. As a corollary to this, why is it always when you go ‘oh, fuck it,’ and buy jeans one size up for comfort, that you then lose the ‘oh fuck it’ weight and your brand new jeans are far too large?
  • Hair, facial. The first couple of months my PCOS moustache and whiskers did in fact thin noticeably. And then grew back. So fuck that.
  • Cycle – not only has my menstrual cycle not shortened at all (still ovulating on day 21 at the earliest), but my luteal phase has got shorter. Yes, you read that right, shorter. From 12/13 days, to 11 days. Every single month since I started taking Metformin. THIS IS NOT WHAT IT SAID ON THE TIN.
  • On the other hand, I had three periods in a row that were noticeably less painful, with no vomiting, and I had a lot less pain in the week or two leading up to ovulation. Hurrah! Until last month, in which I vomited with vigour and then, in my exhausted drugged-up doze, bled so much I soaked the sanitary towel, knickers, pyjama bottoms, sheet, mattress protector and all in less than an hour. And I’ve been in pain every day since. Which is infuriating and a total bastard and I am now giving Metformin the stink-eye.
  • The packets the Metformin comes in are stupid. Most people take three tablets a day, right? So why do the foil strips have twenty tablets? And a stupid useless dimple smack in the middle? Which could easily have taken another pill, giving seven days’ supply per strip? Why? Why? And why are the boxes so small? Two strips, 40 pills, 13 and 1/3 days’ supply, per box. It’s really really stupid and annoying. Not even a full two weeks supply. And why not a month’s supply per box? It’s not as if we only take the pills for ten days, like antibiotics. Bloody pharmaceutical companies.
  • I do find it hard to remember to take a pill with every meal. There have been skipped pills, forgotten altogether pills, and pills taken at weirder times of day. I am blaming the stupid packaging, because that is psychologically easier than admitting I am a vague and useless snowflake with the attention-span of a fruit-fly on Mary-Jane.

And there we have it. Is Metformin doing me any good at all? Debatable. I don’t know what to do. *Flails hands about*

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8 responses to “Metformin

  • a

    No gastrointestinal distress is a good thing! However, saving up all the menstrual pain for one month – that’s unfair. Stop it, Metformin!

    We have been having a fine time here at work discussing all of our weird food allergies lately. A couple people are banning gluten. I occasionally list all the foods that make my mouth burn. We’re all wondering why we’re all sneezing and itchy at the END OF DECEMBER WHEN NOTHING IS GROWING!!!! and then we decide that the mold in the walls of our building must be in bloom. We’d be quite the study group for an allergist/immunologist…

  • Twangy

    Ah, well. I have big feet AND a sweet tooth. Is what it is.

    Metformin,eh? What a mixed bag, indeed.There are so many variables and I don’t think the medicos make enough of individual biochemistry, though how they would, I don’t even know, without going a bit sci-fi on it. What you’ve been doing with the food-tracking and keeping account, seems an excellent idea. Have you further appointments made with our costly friend Dr E?

  • Rachel

    I am extraordinarily dubious of anyone who claims not to have a sweet tooth. My sister claimed that … and it turns out she has almost no sense of taste at all (diagnosed thanks to IF, of course). But no, I am still suspect of your family’s disinterest in sugar.

    Were you told to take metformin with food? Just wondering because I can’t recall ever being told when to take it, and I took it mostly without.

  • AMH

    You should take metformin with food, it is far less effective if taken without. You know, some PCOSers go as high as 2,000 mg . . . Met has always been a “magic bullet” for me – 28 day cycles, weight loss, no problems with acne or shine, lots of goodness. Horrible GI problems, though. But I lose basically all food cravings, especially carb/sugar cravings, so I’m wondering how you could be experiencing the opposite. If you’re taking with food, maybe you should inquire about upping the dose? Stumped.

  • Melissia

    I too lost all food craving and promptly lost 70 pounds, but my PCOS was paired with diabetes, which has since become very stable with the weight loss. I am on 1000mg twice a day and to do get recurrent sugar cravings usually in response to a cycle of eating something sweet and then a few hours later that craving returns. My belief ( and nurse’s training ) leads me to believe that this craving happens as a malfunction of our bodies releasing too much insulin in response to eating the sweet. Eventually our body craves the sugar in response to a low blood sugar. Through my own testing I discovered that when I check my blood glucose levels, it is not really low, just lower than my PCOS body is unuse to.
    For me the trick was to avoid sweets and to stop that cycle before it starts. If I do decide to eat a sweet I try to eat it with a meal to slow the absorption and know that either in the morning or a few hours later I will be craving another carbohydrate and will just need to tough it out.
    Hope this helps. Oh and packaging I think is a country wide thing. In the US it comes in big bottles of many tablets and some people even get their meds my mail order from their pharmacy in 3 months supply in just a huge bottle. I noticed when we were last in the UK that the most you could by Advil was in an 8 count blister pack. Here in the states you can buy it in a 500 count bottle.

  • Daisy

    Re weight loss, have a look at Gary Taubes. Being always all my life very anti diets and all, I’ve recently found myself in the position of having to shift some weight because my blood pressure is Unruly. After stumbling on GT I read one of his books and it was revelatory. Have a look at his Amazon reviews. It doesn’t just work, it makes total sense physiologically. But, for those tricky days, checkout Warburtons gf fruit loaf (Waitrose or asda). Faberooni dunked in coffee.

  • Emily Erin

    Here in the US, we have an extended release tab, perhaps you could get that? That might help with remembering the pills….

  • Dr Spouse

    If you ask for a prescription for X days they should give you extra part bubble packs, I find.

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