Metformin and Menopause: Benefits vs. Side Effects

If you take metformin for type 2 diabetes, you may wonder if it’s safe to continue using it while transitioning to menopause. While metformin for type 2 diabetes is safe during this transition, there are some particular benefits and side effects to consider. 

This article will help you determine whether or not taking metformin while transitioning to menopause is right for you. It discusses how metformin can impact your hormones and why this matters during menopause.

Metformin tablets

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Metformin and Menopause: What Research Suggests

Research suggests that metformin is safe and effective during the transition to menopause. It also benefits overall metabolic health and your body’s ability to process energy.

Metformin has demonstrated therapeutic potential for:

  • Reducing breast cancer tumor size
  • Lowering obesity risk
  • Lowering testosterone and insulin levels in postmenopausal women
  • Helping in the prevention of endometrial cancer cell growth

Breast Cancer Risk

It’s known that taking metformin for type 2 diabetes reduces breast cancer risk and improves breast cancer survival. Research published in 2018 on postmenopausal rodents suggests it may be particularly effective when taken during the menopausal transition. More research may be needed on humans,

The study authors concluded that taking metformin while transitioning to menopause, in particular, may be an effective therapy against breast tumor growth. Menopause is considered a life stage where metabolic syndrome and obesity-related breast cancer risk increase.

Does Metformin Affect Your Hormones?

Metformin impacts a person's sensitivity to insulin, a hormone essential in metabolic functioning.

Metformin also has the effect of lowering testosterone hormone levels in the blood. Lowering testosterone levels has been shown effective in helping to regulate a person's menstrual cycle in their premenopausal years.

Metformin's effect on different hormones, including testosterone and insulin, has shown protective qualities against obesity, metabolic syndrome, and endometrial cancer cell growth during menopausal years.

Metformin also has been clinically tried over a period of six months in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) during premenopausal years due to its effect on different hormones in the body.

Side Effects of Metformin

Common side effects of metformin include:

  • Digestive upset (i.e., gas and bloating)
  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Diarrhea

A rare but serious condition called lactic acidosis can occur when taking metformin. Always tell your prescribing healthcare provider about any history of kidney disease, heart attack or stroke, diabetic ketoacidosis (too much acid in the blood), or alcohol use disorder to ensure metformin is safe for you. In such cases, your healthcare provider may suggest safer alternatives.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes vs. Menopause

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can make the symptoms of menopause worse, and vice-versa. Menopause symptoms caused by estrogen and progesterone level changes can make type 2 diabetes more challenging to manage.

For example, sleep problems caused by menopause symptoms like hot flashes, anxiety, and night sweats negatively impact your ability to regulate insulin levels, which is the cornerstone of diabetes management.

Other symptoms from menopause, including vaginal dryness, can add to the pain experienced by any diabetes-related vaginal nerve pain damage.

Menopause symptoms that can overlap with diabetes symptoms include:

  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain (in part from insulin changes)
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Sleep loss
  • Night sweats

Managing Type 2 Diabetes During Menopause

Managing type 2 diabetes during menopause can be done effectively. In addition to taking metformin, you may want to consider the suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for people in menopause with type 2 diabetes. These include the following:

  • More frequent blood sugar monitoring
  • Eating a balanced diet, including fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Staying as active as possible or trying to increase physical activity levels 
  • Urinating more often to reduce vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight for your body type
  • Checking in with your healthcare provider about medication dosages that may need to be changed during menopausal transitioning


Taking metformin for type 2 diabetes during menopause is safe. Taking metformin during this life stage is beneficial due to its impact on hormones, including testosterone and insulin. Metformin use during menopause is associated with better overall metabolic health, including reduced risk of obesity.

Common side effects include digestive upset and a metallic taste in the mouth. Symptoms of menopause and diabetes can make the other worse. Management of type 2 diabetes during menopause includes eating healthy, participating in more physical activity, and getting enough sleep.

A Word From Verywell

Managing type 2 diabetes during menopause differs from managing type 2 diabetes without menopause. The unique challenges can be frustrating and make you wonder what's left to do about feeling well again. If you're feeling this way, consider speaking with your healthcare provider about your symptoms, including physical changes, like hot flashes, and emotional symptoms, such as anxiety or depression. Help is available.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it safe to take Metformin during menopause?

    Yes, Metformin is safe to take during menopause. It does impact hormone levels, including testosterone and insulin. There is some benefit to this during menopause.

  • What are other side effects of Metformin?

    Other side effects of Metformin include digestive upset like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. People also report a metallic taste in their mouths. Metformin can also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.

  • Does Metformin help with menopause fatigue?

    Metformin works by moderating insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes (i.e., helping them manage insulin and blood sugar levels). This can also help manage menopause fatigue. Proper metabolic functioning is essential in how your body stores and processes energy.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Campagnoli C, Abbà C, Ambroggio S, et al. Life-style and metformin for the prevention of endometrial pathology in postmenopausal women. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2013;29(2):119-124. doi:10.3109/09513590.2012.706671

  2. Giles ED, Jindal S, Wellberg EA, et al. Metformin inhibits stromal aromatase expression and tumor progression in a rodent model of postmenopausal breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research. 2018;20(1):50. doi:10.1186/s13058-018-0974-2

  3. Surakasula A, Nagarjunapu G, Raghavaiah K. A comparative study of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer: Risk factors, presentation, characteristics and management. J Res Pharm Pract. 2014;3(1):12. doi:10.4103/2279-042X.132704

  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine Clinical Trials. The effect of metformin on different hormones in PCOS patients

  5. Medline Plus. Metformin.

  6. diaTribe. Navigating menopause and perimenopause with diabetes.

  7. The North American Menopause Society. Diabetes hits women hard at menopause: beat it back.

  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Diabetes and women

By Michelle Pugle
Michelle Pugle, BA, MA, is an expert health writer with nearly a decade of contributing accurate and accessible health news and information to authority websites and print magazines. Her work focuses on lifestyle management, chronic illness, and mental health. Michelle is the author of Ana, Mia & Me: A Memoir From an Anorexic Teen Mind.