Metformin and Infertility

What is Hyperinsulinemia (insulin resistance)?

Hyperinsulinemia, or elevated blood insulin levels, is an endocrine disorder most often found in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is characterized by irregular or absent menstrual periods, hormone imbalances and the presence of an increased number of small follicles on the ovaries. PCOS has several different manifestations. Some women with PCOS may also experience excessive hair growth, hair loss, acne, and obesity.

How is Hyperinsulinemia related to infertility?

Hyperinsulinemia is believed to cause a hormonal imbalance in the pituitary gland and ovary. This leads to an increased level of lutenizing hormone (LH). Increased levels of LH are then believed to cause ovulation disorders, menstrual irregularities and infertility.

What is Metformin?

Metformin (Glucophage) is an oral fertility medication which can help lower insulin levels and improve ovulation patterns. Metformin is FDA approved for the treatment of PCOS and Type II diabetes.  By better regulating blood glucose, many women find that while taking metformin they are more easily able to lose weight.  Of course, taking metformin is not the solution alone.  It must be taken in conjuction with lifestyle changes.  Specifically, eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet and getting regular exercise.  Some women are able to lose enough weight that they are able to resume ovulating and menstruating spontaneously–and the PCOS resolves.

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