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GD: Horrific metformin side effects

Discussion in 'Gestational Diabetes' started by BettyCat, May 21, 2017.

  1. BettyCat

    BettyCat Gestational · Member

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    Hi all!

    Newbie here. Had a browse, thought I'd post.

    I'm 19w4d and was diagnosed with GD at 17w5d after glycosuria at 16w1d. Midwives and doctors are very concerned as I'm so early on. I haven't been able to control my bloods by diet and exercise at all, and started metformin this past Tuesday at 18w6d. They are expecting to see me again this coming Tuesday at 19w6d to discuss insulin.

    The problem is, I am utterly miserable on metformin. I started on 500mg in the morning and 500mg at night and was told to gradually increase the dose, going up to 1000mg at night after two days. The first time I took it, I went to bed feeling sick and then got up to use the bathroom and had very loose stools. With every dose I have taken the side effects have got worse. I now can't keep any food down, have true diarrhoea (sorry) to the extent that I've even had an episode of incontinence. I'm utterly miserable and scared to take it.

    Today I skipped my breakfast dose and of course I feel much better. I'm petrified of taking it, fed up of being so violently sick. Now I know that lots of people experience digestive issues in the beginning and it then settles, so the best thing is to keep on taking it. But my issues are just getting worse. Should I keep taking it anyway? It makes me vomit and I can't eat, and I also won't be able to leave my house if I do. My appointment is in two days on Tuesday, but I'll be able to call them tomorrow. Nobody is there over the weekend.

    Has this happened to anyone else? What did you do?

    Thank you!
     
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  2. Ann1982

    Ann1982 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Metformin caused me the same problems including the incontinence. However I am not pregnant so can only advise you to phone first thing tomorrow and take advice from doctors. It is a horrible situation and must be worse for you. Take care.
     
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  3. Squire Fulwood

    Squire Fulwood Type 2 · Expert

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    My DN once said that she's not there in order to make my quality of life worse. So tell her your problem and see what's to be done about it.
     
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    #3 Squire Fulwood, May 21, 2017 at 12:16 PM
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  4. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    As you will be able to phone tomorrow, it might be safest not to take the Metformin - I am concerned as during the time I was having similar problems I fell several times trying to get to the toilet. I was (am) a non pregnant person with experience of martial arts so I don't fall hard, but I was severely shaken and shocked by the tumbles I took.
    When you were trying to control your BG with diet, what amounts of carbs were you eating?
    Usually low carb is so effective I too am wondering if you might need insulin.
     
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  5. BettyCat

    BettyCat Gestational · Member

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    Thank you so much Ann1982! I hate that you've been through it too but I'm glad you can empathise. I'll definitely call tomorrow!

    Aaah that's such a good point Squire Fulwood! Thank you!

    Resurgam, that's so scary! Falling I mean. I haven't done that. I'm scared it could happen though. I feel great for skipping my morning dose. Still have an uncomfy stomach but I feel like I can actually go out today and not worry. My fasting BM this morning was 5.1mmol/L and 8.4 post breakfast which is higher than usual but of course I know why. I really didn't have time to sort my diet out before starting the metformin. Initially they had me stick to my usual diet so they could see what was going on, then I had just a few days of trying their recommendations of weetabix and porridge. I know they're fine for some, but they weren't for me. Things like brown bread/toast and egg work better for me. Before the metformin my evening meals were generally what they've always been- small amounts of brown pasta or rice with curry/chili/bolognese etc, or chicken/fish with rice and a small amount of potato. Chicken caesar salad with homemade dressing and just a few croutons is good too. Readings are borderline after eating things like that. Fasting readings are always too high though. This morning my 5.1 was rare, it's usually 5.8-6.6. My tummy was running on empty since lunch time yesterday though.
    I think I'd actually be happier to be on insulin right now. Metformin is horrible!
     
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  6. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Ah - well there are the reasons for high blood glucose levels. The 'healthy' diet so stuffed with high carb foods.
    Metformin would probably not even touch the consequences of eating those foods.
    They must be off their
    No no - I mean they must be misguided in advising you to eat Weetabix or porridge - bread is going to spike just about any diabetic, croutons are bread - but I'm afraid that brown rice or pasta have no benefits at all. Potato puts my readings way up.
    I am just going to boil some eggs - I will chop them up, add coleslaw - the creamy sort, then a little grated cheese, and then half a bag of mixed salad. I will percolate some coffee and drink it with a little double cream, and then this evening I will have roast chicken and cauliflower. My blood glucose will probably be close to 7 after the evening meal, just over perhaps, but it will have been under that after lunch.
    I don't need to take any tablets for control of my diabetes.
     
  7. BettyCat

    BettyCat Gestational · Member

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    I could happily reduce my carbs further. I've been a vegetable fiend my whole life! I'm under the impression that removing carbs altogether is a bad thing? That's the whole reason I haven't. I've just been told not to, especially since I'm pregnant. I just try to spread my carbs out and have a little with every meal though I often don't have any at lunch. Lunch last week was mostly green salads with a little pomegranate and some chicken.
    Your diet sounds great though. You're clearly very good at this!

    Do you ever indulge? I've never had a sweet tooth in my life until being pregnant! An apple helps but it's no marshmallow or Lindor chocolate
     
  8. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I started to eat low carb a very long time ago.
    I suspect that I have been diabetic a very long time, but eating low carb masked the symptoms.
    Pomegranate might not be a good idea - fruit being high in sugar, and pomegranate is about 15 percent sugar. Apples, likewise are high sugar. I sometimes pulverise an apple or pear and add it to gelatine made up with smaller amounts of water than normal, allowed to cool and yoghurt or cream, whisk together and put in the fridge - a nice low carb dessert, but you need something like a Nutribullet to break down the fruit really well. Don't include the pips, they are poisonous. It makes a large bowl of frothy jelly and has about one carb per serving.
    Do add mayonnaise to your salad, or an oil vinegar dressing - an olive oil one if you can find one. Eat the chicken with the skin - Brain and nervous system are made from lipids - fats, in other words. Carbohydrates are not essential, but fats are.
    You can have small amounts of high cocoa chocolate - I buy no added sugar ones as well, but I know that I have to limit my consumption of that and make a bar last a week, the sugar alcohols can upset my stomach.

    You might be able to avoid insulin if you go low carb and use your meter - it is usually very effective in lowering carbs, and I ate low carb foods all through my first pregnancy had a strapping boy who is now about to be a dad for the 4th time - no restriction on the amount, just lots of salads, berries, fish and meat with fresh veges.
    If you are on insulin there will be testing before driving, maybe excessive weight gain, possible hypos, and you will be expected to eat dense carbs. I'd do a lot to avoid that.
     
  9. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    @BettyCat Take the advice of your dietician and specialists. It's unwise to change your diet without professional input when you're pregnant, and both pregnancy and breastfeeding require carbs.

    If the Metformin is making you feel ill then it may be an alternative like insulin would be preferable if you need it. It's not as scary as it sounds, and a number of ladies with GD do need it, especially as the pregnancy progresses.
     
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  10. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    Resurgam, it's untrue that insulin causes weight gain. In fact, in pregnancy it can be extremely helpful to both mother and baby.

    The expectation to eat carbs isn't a bad thing. Too few carbs have been linked with cognitive deficits in the growing baby, so if an expectant mum is unable to eat properly and cntrol her blood sugar at the same time, then insulin is very helpful.

    @BettyCat Please do not be worried about insulin. Many ladies with GD take it and benefit from it.
     
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  11. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Exactly why I ate unrestricted amounts of the foods I listed, all through my first pregnancy - the midwives were amazed.
     
  12. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    The diet you listed seemed very low in carbs. If I've misunderstood that then I apologise, but advice now is to be wary of reducing carbs to too low a level as carbs are important for the development of the baby and for breastfeeding.

    If insulin is needed to process those carbs then that's a postive thing and nothing for any lady to fear :) Insulin is often prescribed in pregnancy even to established Type 2s who don't usually need it. It can be extremely helpful.
     
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  13. Gemsydodger

    Gemsydodger Gestational · Member

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    @BettyCat

    I'm on my second pregnancy with gestational diabetes. I came here this morning for a cry and a moan but I think you need to cry and moan even more.

    I would have said that I had severe side effects with metaformin. I went 8 weeks without going to the toilet, and the farts? Oh dear lord, I smelt like a farm animal! No one wanted me near them. Your reaction is extreme! I went above and beyond to diet control in my first pregnancy and lost 4 stone. I basically went carb free. I only got diagnosed at 28 weeks and delivered at 37 weeks. So I only suffered for 9 weeks.

    This pregnancy I got diagnosed at 14 weeks and by 18 (when I realised I had about 22 weeks to go) I burst into tears and knew I didn't have it in me, or the weight in my bones to diet control this to the end! So I went on insulin. It's not as scary as you'd think, they nurses and midwives tell you that but you don't believe them. Genuinely, it's grand! And you can start to live and breathe again.

    You need to make yourself aware of the amount of carbs that's in everything. You say you're a veg friend but they have carbs too, fruit has carbs but they spike slightly earlier so you are able to make the hour target easier. When you're gonna eat something just grab your phone and google carbs in an apple (for example). Mixing a protein with your carb helps slow the release.
    There will be foods you can eat, that make no sense. There will be foods you should be able to eat but have to hide behind a nuclear force field! GD is hormonal and makes no sense whatsoever most of the time (lol)

    If you ever want to talk (because gestational diabetes is a lonely place) please contact me) Don't be alone!
     
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  14. busydiabeticmum

    busydiabeticmum I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I am 23 weeks 1 day with my 7th baby.

    I am intolerant to metformin.

    I discovered this with my no.3 when gd was really bad... I was put on insulin instead!
    No.4 never put on metformin, immediately put on insulin, same with 5 and 6... that was extremely early in pregnancy too... struggled to control blood sugars etc...

    I developed type 2 Jan 2016 because of medication and got into remission by low carbing!
    I changed hospitals (check the qpr) and they are a lot better! I am not being messed about, Bgl under control, good diet (low carbs) management as directed BY THE DIETITIAN (good hospital) no meds so far.

    I would call up your diabetic midwife tomorrow and get it sorted! It may be you need to see a dietitian (hopefully you have a good one) and they should change your meds to suit you!

    Anyway lots of hugs and hope you get it under control... really empathize with you!
     
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  15. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    On my low carb foods which I ate without restriction other than my own appetite, I had a 9lb 3 and 1/2 oz baby boy, who was always in the top 10 percentile for weight and height and is now well over 6ft tall with a 32 inch waist and almost 4 children of his own.
    If the low carb diet affected his development I'd have to say it was all positive - all the midwives who saw him as a baby commented on his unusual strength and the way he looked at them so alertly.
    With my second pregnancy I mentioned low carb to the doctor and was threatened and insulted. I was put on a 'proper' diet and within three weeks was back at the clinic very ill with pre-eclampsia. If there had been a bed available I'd have been put in hospital and I think that I'd have been in grave danger, but it was a Friday and I was sent home. I threw out the cereals bread etc and was a lot better by the Monday, but the baby was born smaller and grew more slowly, has not been as robust and healthy - of course I try not to make the association with what I did, but it is difficult.
     
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  16. Kerri5981

    Kerri5981 HCP · Newbie

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    HI, <3, I wasn't pregnant when diagnosed but I also wasn't aware of the side effects when they gave me metformin.
    I had awful stomach pains and my ibs was horrendous. If you are pregnant, then you need all the nutrition you can get, diabetic or not! I would suggest you at least call your diabetic nurse and stop taking the tablets until you have a chance to discuss the situation properly. If you are having such severe reactions it isn't worth taking the chance with your health to continue taking them. Plus if you read the leaflet, it is a drug designed for obese people to make them lose weight!! I don't believe this is recommended even in diabetic pregnancies. Good luck and congratulations!! by the way.
     
  17. busydiabeticmum

    busydiabeticmum I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    It is the first medicine they give to pregnant woman who develop gd! They kept trying to push it on me and I reacted both pregnant and when I became type 2!

    That is why I changes hospital... they are desperate to put us on it, even when they know you have reacted badly. There are alternatives out there, it was so depressing thinking at 30 I would spend the rest of my life injecting insulin which is what pushed me to get sorted and go into remission.

    This time round I am not on any meds and am in excellent control of my Bgl... in fact I didn't have this control when I was on metformin or insulin... however everyone is different every pregnancy is different so what works for one may not for another.

    Terrible that they KNOW this has severe adverse side affects and still prescribe telling us (preggers) that it depends on how we cope with it (the side effects) and blackmail to force us to stay on it by scare mongering! Disgraceful. They also blame the woman when things go wrong, "because she didn't control her Bgl, her eating etc" even if she follows their advice to the 't'.
     
  18. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    It's unwise to reduce your carbs too low during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Spreading your carbs is a good thing to do, as is choosing lower GI carbs.
     
  19. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    We visited our son's family yesterday.
    As mother in law I keep quiet, but my son fathers babies with large heads and high birth weight - previous pregnancies have not gone well, but thanks be, all three grandsons are doing well. There was a miscarriage recently and now another daughter is on the way.
    My daughter in law has had numerous glucose tests during pregnancy always judged non diabetic, but testing her blood glucose with my meter always shows high readings. She has a very high carb diet and has added high carb snacks.
    She had a scan recently and is now faced with a large headed, wide bodied baby lying diagonally, head up, with a projected weight of well over 10lb if allowed to go to term.
    When we arrived she had a large bag of Doritos and a jar of dip open on the bed beside her - she is almost immobile and has a hospital bed downstairs. Although her weight is not the problem at the moment she has an unstable pelvis and a problem with pain.
    She might well need a caesarean section or to be induced early if the baby turns, but as my daughter in law rarely stands upright I can't see that happening naturally.
    It is worrying - my son is a full time carer and he loves looking after his wife and the boys, but I can see how concerned he is, but he finds the carbs in her diet are not negotiable - but they are addictive, of course.
    I'm in no way advising eating a restricted amount of carbs when pregnant or breastfeeding - but some moderation when things are not going well might help the situation.
     
  20. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    That's very sad, Resurgam, but doesn't apply to others. It sounds like she might have blood sugar issues that have been missed (from what you've said about your tests on her). Perhaps alerting her doctor and midwife would be best.

    Undiagnosed GD causes large babies not carbs.
     
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