Signs Metformin Is Working, Side Effects, and Precautions

signs metformin is working

Signs metformin is working will clarify if the medicine is working for you or if you need a replacement. Metformin is used to treat type-2 diabetes and balance your blood glucose levels.

Studies show that metformin is the best medication to treat type-2 diabetes. There are studies that prove that this medicine is effective and tolerable for patients suffering from the disease.

If you have been recently detected and you are on metformin, you need to know about the signs metformin is not working. It will help you identify if your body is responding to the medication or if you need something else.

Signs metformin is working can also bring side effects alongside. So, you need weigh what is working and what isn’t to take care of your overall wellbeing.

Signs metformin is working

Here are the top three signs that metformin is working:

1. Weight Loss

If you have been taking metformin for quite some time, it should also start reflecting in your weight. Along with taking the diabetic diet, you must lose the extra pounds with the help of metformin. Weight loss helps manage diabetes better and keeps your diet in check. It is a healthy sign if you are eating the right kinds of food.

2. Lower levels of HbA1c

If you have diabetes, you must check your blood sugar levels regularly. Many blood sugar testing kits are available in the market that will let you check the levels at home. However, if you aren’t comfortable doing it at home, you can always check it at any lab.

A quarterly check-up is mandatory if you are a diabetic person. The doctor will ask you for an HbA1c report. It will reflect your blood levels for the last quarter.

Ideally, your glucose levels should come down after a month on metformin, along with the lifestyle changes prescribed by your doctor. Hence it is important to follow up with a test every three months.

If reports suggest no significant decrease after taking medications and restricting diet, you should consult a doctor. There are chances of medicine replacement or an increase in dosage.

3. Lower sugar levels

Being a diabetic, metformin is prescribed to you to maintain your sugar levels. But if it is not helping you in lowering your glucose levels, then you have to inform your doctor immediately. High sugar levels may lead to other chronic diseases.

You already know the signs metformin is working, but what are the signs metformin is not working? It usually should take a couple of months for things to show up after taking any medication except steroids.

Signs metformin is not working

Let’s see the below signs metformin is not working, which will help you to decide to switch on your doctor or medicines:

1. Stubborn high sugar levels

Being a diabetic, your sugar levels will always be high after meals. Your doctor prescribed you metformin for the sole purpose of controlling the spike. But even after taking metformin, if your sugar levels are not controlled, you need new medication. Get yourself a home testing kit to track your sugar levels.

home test for diabetes

2. Increased hunger

Your hunger pangs should ideally not increase when you start consuming metformin. If you lose energy, you will likely feel hungry. But if your activity levels remain same you should not feel hungrier. It might be a sign of high sugar levels in your body.

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3. HbA1c is still the same

Metformin takes couple of months to show results in HbA1c reports. Hence, if your reports aren’t improving even after taking metformin for three months, you need to a routine checkup.

4. Frequent urination

This is a very common sign of being diabetic. But it should ideally control after taking metformin. If it continues, it means the medication isn’t working.

5. Sweet breath

Fruity smell could be a really funny thing to experience, but it is an indication that shows you have a high glucose level in your body.

6. Fatigue

With high sugar levels, you may feel very tired all the time. Feeling lazy and disinterested to work are other common signs of high glucose levels in the body.

Signs metformin is working for PCOS

Are you concerned about PCOS and whether metformin has something to do with it?

Well, now we know that metformin balances the glucose levels in your body and is prescribed to people with diabetes. But there is more to it; this drug also helps aid PCOS.

PCOS is a condition that impacts hormones and menstrual cycle in women. It mostly occurs between the childbearing or reproductive age in females. Sometimes it may cause infrequent or long periods with high levels of male hormones known as androgens.

There are also possibilities that you may have developed cysts or small follicles in your ovaries that disturb the reproductive system.

Here are some positive signs that metformin is working for PCOS:

1. Lower insulin levels

The main cause of PCOS is high insulin levels in your body. Metformin helps regularize insulin levels, resulting in treating PCOS. Metformin also has a great effect on the fatty tissue of the body.

2. Regular periods

The main problem you face with PCOS is irregular periods. With regular medication and diet, you will have regular periods. So, even after having metformin, you must check with your doctor if your periods aren’t normal.

3. Low BMI

You might need to take metformin if you have high BMI leading to obesity and diabetes. So, metformin may help bring the BMI under normal levels, along with proper diet and workout.

weight loss food

4. No more acne

Acne is one of the signs of PCOS. Metformin helps in regularizing your hormones and balancing a healthy reproductive system. So, once you start taking metformin, you may also see a decrease in acne on your face because of the reduction of male hormones in your body.

Side effects of metformin

Every medication has a side effect at the start, and the same with metformin. As you start the medicine, you may likely get the below side effects. Let’s see what those are:

1. Drastic weight loss

Drastic weight loss could be alarming since it is a clear sign of chronic drop in sugar level, which needs to be attended urgently. Also, if you are on a diabetic diet, working out religiously, and taking medications, your weight should come down slowly. But metformin may sometimes act strange causing drastic changes.

2. Diarrhea

If you are new to metformin, there are even chances of having a stomach upset. This should usually go in two days, but if it’s still continuing, you should check with your doctor for alternatives.

3. Headache

Having a mild headache is a very common effect of metformin. This is mainly because of the insulin levels that are getting low. This is something you should not be worried about.

4. Vomiting and nausea

When the sugar levels go down in your body because of metformin in your body it is normal to feel pukish and nauseous. Do not panic; it is ok.

5. Gas

You may have to take another medicine along with metformin for gas and bloating. Sometimes your body may not be able to digest metformin.

6. Bitter taste

Your tastebud may not like metformin, which is why you may have a bitter taste in your mouth. To be honest, any medicine that you take will have a bitter taste and not just metformin.

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7. Anemia or B12 deficiency

In very rare cases, anemia or B12 deficiency is also seen. But in this case, you must speak to your doctor for any alternative if required.

Food habits that show signs metformin is working

With a healthy lifestyle change along with metformin, you may lose about 8-10 pounds. But there are some great food habits that could help metformin work easier and even more efficiently:

1. Healthy fats

Having a moderate-fat diet is apt when you have diabetes. Now like you have healthier options in carbs, there is good fat as well. Start including nuts, fish, and avocado in your diet. You may also switch to olive oil instead of regular vegetable oils, which have unsaturated fats. This healthy fat will keep your sugar and cholesterol in control.

2. Complex carbohydrates

With diabetes, you must make smart and healthy choices. For example, instead of normal rice, you can always choose brown rice. This will help your body work a little longer to convert the carbs. Likewise, many options are available that are complex carbohydrates, for example, oats, multigrain bread, quinoa, and much more. These options will regularize your glucose levels and keep your gut healthy.

3. Lean proteins

You must already know how important protein is for your body. But with diabetes having lean protein is best for you. Instead of red meat, try having chicken, turkey, and fish. These will help in controlling your glucose levels and work efficiently with metformin. If you are a vegetarian, you can have tofu for protein.

4. Fiber

Having enough fiber is very important for your body. You must include leafy vegetables like kale and spinach into your diet to have a healthy digestive system. If you do not have enough fiber in your body, metformin will take a much to work in your body, along with high doses. Do not go for supplements; try adding food that is high in fiber, as supplements and metformin might act funny together.

fiber in the form of leafy greens

Severity from metformin

Did you know if your body starts excessive production of metformin, it is a serious issue that needs to be handled? Lactic acidosis is a life-threatening condition that should be treated immediately. When too much metformin is developed in the body, it starts lowering the blood pressure and oxygen levels in the body.

The most common symptoms of lactic acidosis are:

  • Palpitation
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Feeling hot
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate

Do not ever forget to take your medicines and never overdose on them. If you have a kidney condition, inform your doctor before taking metformin.

Things to avoid with metformin

Being a diabetic or not, avoidance of the below food habits will help you lead a healthier life. However, if you are on metformin, the below list makes the work slower for the medicine to start working in your body:

1. Alcohol

Regular drinking harms your health, and metformin worsens it. And if you have any kind of liver or kidney issues, you must avoid drinking altogether.

2. Saturated fat

Did you know that if you do not have control over your diabetes, there are chances you will develop cardiovascular disease? Nobody wants a heart condition.

No matter how many medicines you have, changing your lifestyle is the most important step with any medication. Too much red meat, cheese, butter, etc., can make the work for metformin tougher. Hence to live a healthy life, avoid saturated fat in your diet.

3. Refined carbs

The main job of metformin is to lower glucose levels. But if you add too much-refined carbs to your diet, metformin works get slower, and it doesn’t help how it should.

You must avoid candy, chocolates, white rice, soda, white bread, chips, desserts, etc. Anything that spikes your glucose levels should be avoided.

Starchy vegetables should be substituted with non-starchy options like cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, and leafy greens. Starch does no good when you have diabetes.

4. Sodium

Salt is important, but anything in excess is the problem. Excessive consumption of sodium increases the chances of getting high blood pressure. If you have diabetes, you are just increasing the chances. Having a controlled amount will help to keep everything on track.

5. Trans fat

Like saturated fat, trans fat is also bad for your body. Anything that comes in a packet contains trans-fat.

signs metformin is working

Final Thoughts

As you come to the end of this article, now you know how metformin works and when it doesn’t. If you are on metformin, you need not worry; it is just a drug to stabilize certain conditions in your body. Make small changes in your lifestyle and see the difference. You may not have to be on meds anymore.