Thursday, 4 October 2012

Metformin Agony

I know I said I was only going to do agony columns on a Monday, but they are so much fun and I have a few backed up - so here is a cheeky end-of-week treat for you guys.


I have a question for the agony aunt... I'm about to start my first IVF and have been told I'll have to take Metformin for my PCOS. 

Our consultant made a point to tell us that the main side effects of Metformin are diarrhoea and flatulence. Lovely. So my question is, do you have any suggestions for how I can get out of the inevitable embarrassing situations of the next few weeks? 

Thanks Tracy xx

Dear Tracy

Despite everything that I have done in my quest to get pregnant, Metformin isn't one of them.  I secretly think this might be because one of the side effects many women on Metformin discover is they lose weight, so why would my doctor consider giving me a drug that has a positive side-effect?


Nuts in May recently wrote about taking the drug and I would direct you to her post, not just for what she says but also her reader's advice in the comments.

But you didn't ask me about Metformin directly, you want to know how to avoid the embarrassing situations that may result, and in that I am an expert.

1) Get a dog
In the four and a half years since we first got our dog the husband and I have never farted in the house. If one of us does smell a little air-biscuit that has been artfully dropped we blame the dog. Even in some cases when the dog is in kennels or the rippling parp noise seemed to come unequivocably from the direction of one of the human's bums.  IT WAS THE DOG - GOT IT?

2) Sabotage your Nike Air max
Anyone who has had the misfortune to puncture this popular nineties fashion item will know that as soon as you get a puncture in one every walk will be accompanied by a contented farting sound as you stroll along; providing you time your metformin-induced trouser coughs with the squelch of the shoe no one will ever know your embarrassing little problem.

3) Go to Morocco 
If your experience of Morocco is anything like mine when I went, it won't mask any bottom burps or diarrhoea but it will make any side effects from the Metformin a mere side show to the main, very unpleasant, event.

4) Pretend to develop a coke habit
Chances are you'll be frequenting the toilet a lot more frequently than normal during this ... um ... disruptive period. Your work colleagues may start to notice, and there is little more embarrassing than sneaking back to your desk after a particularly strenuous session on the crapper thinking that all your work colleagues have a mental image of you pooing yourself inside-out. So instead, when you return to your desk be ebullient, sniff a bit, rub your nose enthusiasticly, start every sentence with "Yeah, 'cause, like, when I was five, right ..."

5) Oust your way through it
Always ensure that you carry a spray can of Oust (or other odour-neutraliser) around with you. Then if you must let one off spray your trail so that the strench doesn't travel with you.

I tell you what, this agony aunt thing is great. It just feels so wonderful to know I can help people.

Yours feeling smugly self-satisfied



  1. are the agony this one!

  2. I think there's something wrong with my favorite sort of way!

  3. If the dog is out of question, a cat or two will work quite the same. Even if they are not bottom burping, usually, once in a very blue moon it happens that they do (tuna helps, although it is not advisable, as it creates an addiction and the buggers won't eat anything else).

  4. For the bottom-burping - hum loudly. At work, scrape your chair back just as you, eh, let go, to disguise the 'parp'. ALways be the first to say 'what on EARTH is that smell?' and stare accusingly at whichever of your nearby colleagues you like the least.

    For the diarrhoea, I don't know. I've been very lucky and not much afflicted. But on 'urgent' days, I've just sprinted for the loo furthest away from the office. And wandered back in, 10 minutes later, with expression of sweet insouciance, disguising an iron-hard resolution to ANSWER HONESTLY if anyone asks if I'm OK. It really is the best way to shut people up and stop gossip. ('Guess what I found out about May! Oh, she told you. Um. OK, guess what I found out about [other random colleague]!'). I think people can see the 'I bloody DARE you' gleam in my eye, because no one asks anything at all.

  5. I've been on metformin for awhile, the symptoms (at least for me) tend to quiet down/go away after awhile. The worst mistake you can make while taking it (and I've made it plenty and continue to make it) is to take it sporadically - then you end up with perma-stomach cramps.

  6. '4) Pretend to develop a coke habit'

    So good - I love these! x

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