Treating PCOS with Metformin at Our Functional Medicine Toronto Clinic

functional medicine toronto pcos treatment

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age, which our Toronto functional medicine clinical practice currently addresses.

Did you know that around 1.4 million Canadian women might already have PCOS? According to most studies, it’s the combination of androgen excess (high DHEA, testosterone, or androstenedione levels) and anovulation (the egg does not release or ovulate from a woman’s ovaries) that distinguishes PCOS.

If you were to visit a functional medicine doctor, they would tell you that PCOS could cause infertility, weight gain, and other health issues that can affect your quality of life. Metformin is a medication often prescribed to treat PCOS and improve fertility in functional medicine patients.

In this blog post, we discuss how Metformin works for fertility, the benefits and potential side effects of taking Metformin, how long it usually takes for women to start ovulating after using it, and other treatment plans that can be used with or instead of Metformin.

Functional Medicine Approach: Metformin as a Fertility Treatment

Metformin is a medication that helps control blood sugar levels. It’s often prescribed to treat people with type II diabetes. Metformin can also help women with PCOS ovulate and get pregnant. It works by decreasing the amount of testosterone produced by the ovaries. This can help improve insulin sensitivity, which is a contributing factor in the development of PCOS.

Our Toronto private practice recognizes science-backed functional care, which is something we apply to our fertility functional medicine treatments. As per studies, Metformin can help improve pregnancy rates among women with PCOS. Clinical studies have shown that the combination of clomiphene citrate and Metformin increases ovulation, pregnancy rates, and success rates. It can boost ovulation, conception rates, and success when combined with clomiphene citrate.

Furthermore, when used alone, Metformin was shown to increase the ovulation rate from 40% to 67% in PCOS patients taking Metformin therapy; however, when clomiphene citrate was added, the rate rose to 69%, and all ovulating patients were found to have given birth.

Generally speaking, it takes around four to six weeks for women to start ovulating after starting Metformin. There are also other treatments that can be used in conjunction with or instead of Metformin. As discussed above, some women may benefit from adding clomiphene (also known as Clomid) into their clinical care to help induce ovulation.

Another alternative is to take spironoloactone with Metformin or alone. Spironolactone has been used as an antiandrogen and is most often used to treat hyperandrogenism (particularly hirsutism) in women who are anovulatory. According to research, the combination of low-dose spironolactone and metformin has a high effectiveness, in comparison to medication alone in terms of clinical effects and compliance in women with PCOS.

Should You Try Metformin for Fertility? Reach the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre to Find Out

As you’ve read, some functional medicine providers prescribe Metformin to women with PCOS. For fertility purposes, Metformin works by decreasing the amount of testosterone produced by the ovaries, which can help improve pregnancy rates among women with difficulty getting pregnant because they don’t ovulate regularly or at all.

Are you interested in a Metformin prescription? Metformin can only be prescribed by a nurse practitioner or medical doctor. If you’re having trouble conceiving and suspect you may have PCOS or hormonal imbalances, please call the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC) to meet our nurse practitioner. The TFMC practices integrative medicine with the functional medicine model, while emphasizing naturopathic medicine, herbal medicine, Eastern medicine (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Western medicine (allopathic), and functional medicine laboratory testing.

Our wide range of functional medicine programs and treatment plans are executed as personalized medicine. This means that our clinical therapies cater to your biology and optimal wellness needs only! The TFMC can support you by understanding your current lifestyle factors, hormone imbalances, chronic conditions, adrenal fatigue, nutritional deficiencies, and other health issues that could affect fertility.

Do you need a distinctive health care plan for your fertility? Curious about using Metformin for helping you get pregnant? Let’s help you reach optimal health to improve your chances of conceiving. Please book a consultation with our functional medicine Toronto nurse practitioner – click here for our contact information.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.

References:

Diagnostic criteria for polycystic ovary syndrome: A reappraisal. Azziz, Ricardo. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 83, Issue 5, 1343 – 1346.

Lujan ME, Chizen DR, Pierson RA. Diagnostic criteria for polycystic ovary syndrome: pitfalls and controversies. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2008;30(8):671-679. doi:10.1016/S1701-2163(16)32915-2

Mohd Ashraf Ganie, Madan Lal Khurana, Sobia Nisar, Parvaiz Ahmed Shah, Zaffar Amin Shah, Bindu Kulshrestha, Nandita Gupta, Mohd Afzal Zargar, Tariq Ahmed Wani, Syed Mudasir, Farooq Ahmed Mir, Shahnaz Taing, Improved Efficacy of Low-Dose Spironolactone and Metformin Combination Than Either Drug Alone in the Management of Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A Six-Month, Open-Label Randomized Study, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 98, Issue 9, 1 September 2013, Pages 3599–3607, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2013-1040

Omran MY. Metformin and polycystic ovary syndrome. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2007;1(1):75-80.

Rogerio A. Lobo, Donna Shoupe, Paulo Serafini, David Brinton, Richard Horton, The effects of two doses of spironolactone on serum androgens and anagen hair in hirsute women**Supported in part by National Institutes of Health grant HD-17519-01A1. Fertility and Sterility, Volume 43, Issue 2, 1985,

Pages 200-205, ISSN 0015-0282, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0015-0282(16)48373-1.

Spritzer, P.M., Lisboa, K.O., Mattiello, S. and Lhullier, F. (2000), Spironolactone as a single agent for long-term therapy of hirsute patients. Clinical Endocrinology, 52: 587-594. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2265.2000.00982.x