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Thread: What your gynecologist may NOT know...

  1. #1

    Default What your gynecologist may NOT know...

    Have been having a back and forth email discussion with a close friend of mine about the recently diagnosed PCO's - some interesting information has surfaced, through this friend being an obstetrics and gynecology registrar, and I thought I should share that information here, as it seems there are a lot of women who aren't getting the correct treatment in terms of PCOS...

    so I shall share this information as a series of quotes from the back and forth emails...

    BW: well... we have the answers... had the scan today (internals are not fun!)... definitely not pregnant, but have a lovely pair of polycystic ovaries... which is what I was suspecting! So many things pointed to it. What comes next?
    OR: The next step is to commence Metformin, which is a diabetic drug that combats the insulin resistance that is at the heart of PCOS. In many cases metformin alone will override the abnormal hormone signals and get ovulation (and pregnancy) happening (I have the latest article about it - read it in theatre on Tuesday after my boss gave it to me - can forward a copy if you would like). If that doesn't work after 6 months, you add clomid which will give the second hormone signal to bring about ovulation.
    BW: The GP agrees that it is PCOS, but said nothing about metformin, and didn't order a glucose tolerance test... he has referred me to a gynecologist, but seems to think that even with a known condition, they won't do anything to assist until 12 months is up!
    OR: Maybe GP doesn't know about metformin in PCOS - I guess as it has only been known to be the best firstline treatment for PCOS for a short time (couple of years only - one of our registrars did the research into it as part of her Masters, completed last year) so maybe he hasn't heard yet. The gynaecologist certainly will know about it, as it is widely known in all gynae journals
    BW: Is it metformin still indicated when glucose tolerance tests come back fine? It's just that online I see so many women diagnosed with PCOS who are only given clomid, but not metformin - the idea being that unless there is a problem with the GTT, then metformin won't work?
    OR: Yes - metformin is indicated even with normal GTT. It is designed to combat the insulin resistance that is at the heart of PCOS, which may not be sufficient to cause overt diabetes, but is certainly enough to disturb the generation of the critical sex hormones and tip the balance far enough to cause the ovulation inhibition of PCOS (the signal is disrupted early on, so the follicle only just starts to develop then is stopped prior to ovulation and then just hangs around forming a cyst). the metformin allows the insulin to do what it is meant to and allow your body to make more oestrogen rather than androgen thus allowing ovulation to occur.
    Bold emphasis mine... It appears to me that not all gynecologists out there are up on the latest research, my friend actually works with the person who did the research on the metformin/PCOS stuff... certainly something to ponder.



    BW

  2. #2

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    Yup... I'm one who has PCO and my OB asked me.. do you want to fix the problem or get pregnant? hehe. I said.. well.. both.. so we agreed to start on the Metformin first. I guess if I was really desperate for the baby, he would have given me clomid just to get the eggy happening!

    As it turns out, Metformin re-established my cycle pretty much straight away, and I was pg on the 2nd cycle. OB was pleased, coz he didn't like the risk of multiples with Clomid.

    The pharmacists who filled my scripts, and friends of mine who work in pharmacies who had enquired about it with their bosses, all of them had never heard of metformin being used for pcos. So it's definitely a newish thing. In fact the pharmacist was quite shocked when I said it would be the last time I'd be filling the script.. coz I guess most people are on it because of diabetes, and are on it for life. So I had to explain the whole thing to him. hehe.

    Oh, just by way of note, the OB did no GTT or anything, so he wasn't relating it to diabetes at all, but did explain the insulin resistance thing and how it screws up the hormone cycle.

    So I definitely recommend asking your OB about metformin. I'd say GP's etc wouldn't be up on it all as much as the specialists.

  3. #3

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    to get up to date information you must see a specialist...they are specialised in these fields for a reason.

    i was first offered metformin when i was diagnosed with pcos...however it made me too sick then i was put on clomid.

    make sure you do a lot of personal research as well as asking specialists for more information. there is heaps of stuff to learn out there

    good luck

  4. #4

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    I'm hoping that the specialists will have the up to date information... it's just the number of women here diagnosed with PCOS that are using clomid only. A few of them have said that because their GTT was normal they didn't need the metformin!

    Thing is, PCOS isn't just a problem when TTC, it's a problem for your entire life, and if it's not managed properly, that life is likely to be shortened and possibly not very enjoyable! This is why my friend is so worried about me getting the right treatment!

    BW

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    well you definitley need to see a specialist soon and hope they are good at what they do

    you will be in safe hands then

  6. #6

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    Danni, my appointment is on the 27th of March... The thing that worries me is that nobody seems to have ever heard of the one I'm seeing...

    BW

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by butterfly_warrior
    Thing is, PCOS isn't just a problem when TTC, it's a problem for your entire life, and if it's not managed properly, that life is likely to be shortened and possibly not very enjoyable! This is why my friend is so worried about me getting the right treatment!
    You have no idea how many people don't get this

    BTW my gyno was absolutely hopeless and said just lose weight, so I got a referral to a well known endocrinologist who diagnosed severe insulin resistance and put me straight on metformin. Who is your specialist BW. Is it a gyno?? From what I have heard form others, most gynos don't look at long term treatment, they just try and get you pregnant

  8. #8

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    I've been referred to Dr Chris Saadie in Castle Hill - I've not been able to find out anything about him at all! He is a gynecologist, but I'm suspecting if I don't get put on the metformin my friend will either do some screaming, or give me a copy of the paper to take with me to show him... kind of handy having contacts like that!

    Kyliealysha, I notice you are in Sydney also - what area and which is the specialist you saw? If I need a referral to yet another specialist if the gyno falls through, it would be nice to have a name to give my GP rather than having to leave it up to his judgement.

    BW

  9. #9

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    My endocrinologist is Dr Warren Kidson.

    He has offices in Randwick, Chatswood and I think Hornsby. He knows a lot about PCOS. You can find him in the yellow pages.

  10. #10

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    Hi BW,

    I was diagnosed with PCOS also but they couldnt see any cysts on my ovaries I just had all the symptoms.

    I saw Dr Mark Bowman in Sydney, city, O'Connell St, he is an IVF Specialist also. He firstly prescribed me Clomid which I concieved first cycle but due to my PCOS and low progesterone I miscarried. He then put me on Metformin + Clomid. I was on Metformin for 5 months and concieved this time it worked and I have a healthy pregnancy. Mark Bowman is wonderful and understanding man and will prescribe what is best for you depending on your circumstances. I would totally recommend him, you need a referal from your GP to see him. Feel free to PM me for more info. I actually told Mark my friend takes Metformin and asked him the benefits and he thought it would be beneficial for me.

    Re Side Effects of Metformin, if you start the dose really low and increase it every two weeks to the required amount you will not have any or little side effects.

    Bel
    xxx

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    yes bel you have a wonderfully progressing pregnancy

    just beware BW, i started on metformin on a very lose dose and it made me violently ill. I only took 1 tablet and i had the runs and exruciating tummy cramps for 10 hours.

    i waited a few days and took another one in case it was something else. and the same thing happened again.

    i refused to take another tablet.

    i understand that it is probably the best thing for me to be taking, but im not happy to put myself in agony at the same time iykwim.

    i hope you have no side effects at all and good luck!

  12. #12

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    I agree with starting on a low dose and working up to it. My endo started me on half a tablet in the morning for a week before goin up to half in the morning and half at night for the next week. Then gradually adding another half every week up to the full dose.

    There are some women who just can't tolerate it, but sometimes they are able to the second time they try (this happened to my friend)

  13. #13

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    I had a similar problem with starting one of my arthritis medications... I started on the dose the specialist told me, and had awful problems... stopped for two weeks, then started again much slower - I don't have any trouble at all now, and we did find that I had to increase my dose much slower than most people.

    I've got so used to managing my arthritis medications (and all the dosage adjustments to go on/off different drugs) that the idea of managing metformin doses and side effects and gradual increases of doses really doesn't worry me at all.

    Two weeks today until I see the specialist - at least I'm well armed with what to ask him when I get there now!

    BW

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    BW

    Goodluck with your specialist in 2 weeks time, what date are you seeing the specialist ? I hope you are prescribed MET and things will go really well for you.

    Danni - I know some people that cannot tolerate Metformin, sorry it happened to you hon, but good to know Clomid it working for you!

    Kylie - You are so lucky to be taking Metformin though pregnancy, I so wish my specialist/ob would let me but wont I have to have GTT on Friday to see how bad my levels are - sigh.

    Bel
    xxx

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bin123
    Kylie - You are so lucky to be taking Metformin though pregnancy, I so wish my specialist/ob would let me but wont I have to have GTT on Friday to see how bad my levels are - sigh.
    I have another one in a couple of weeks. The endocrinologist based his decision on my age and my weight. I guess getting gestational diabetes would be more of a risk for me that staying on Metformin. He also assured me it's safe fro the baby otherwise I would have stopped.

    I'm sure you'll be fine Belle. Exercise and diet are just as helpful from what I have read.

  16. #16
    sophabulous Guest

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    So am I right in understanding from this that metformin should be taken irrespective of your GTT? That all PCOS sufferers should be trying it, not just clomid?

  17. #17

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    metformin really reduces your insulin.

    everyone has very conflicting opinions.

    Sophie, i would speak to your doctor first.

  18. #18
    sophabulous Guest

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    I know!! That's why I think I'm confusing myself... my specialist didn't even mention Metformin but a lot of girls seem to be on it

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