How to prevent Metformin-induced diarrhoea? 

How to prevent Metformin-induced diarrhoea? 

You can try to prevent Metformin-induced diarrhoea in the following ways:

  • Start from the lowest effective dose 
  • Do not take Metformin on an empty stomach
  • Try extended-release Metformin 
  • Stick to a light diet 
  • Take Probiotics 
  • Stay hydrated 

Start from the lowest effective dose 

It’s best to start Metformin from a low dose when you’re new to this medication. Metformin is known for causing diarrhoea in early users and your body can take some time to adjust to this medication. 

Starting from a low dose is usually light on your stomach and helps your body adjust. Side effects on a low dose of Metformin are also not as intense as those caused by higher doses. 

Do not take Metformin on an empty stomach

If you take Metformin on an empty stomach, the medication will more intensely affect your stomach and intestinal motility. This is why always take your Metformin with food. 

This way, the food acts as a barrier and protects your stomach from direct exposure to Metformin. Several surveys have reported that taking Metformin with food is less commonly associated with diarrhoea. 

Try extended-release Metformin

Ask your healthcare provider if you can take extended-release Metformin. This way, the frequency of dose administration reduces and one dosage form slowly releases the medication in your stomach. 

This can help some people, especially those who frequently take Metformin throughout the day. 

Stick to a light diet

Make sure you eat light foods while you’re struggling with diarrhoea. Liquid and soft foods can help keep your stomach light, like bananas, applesauce, rice, oatmeal, etc. Make sure you avoid any heavy food or any other thing that triggers an upset stomach. 

Take Probiotics

Metformin can cause diarrhoea by affecting your gut microflora. This is where Probiotics can play an important role. 

If the medication is damaging your natural microflora, Probiotics can help replace the damaged bacteria with healthy ones. This is one of the best ways to bring your gut functions back to normal. 

Stay hydrated 

Make sure you stay hydrated. Diarrhoea can cause severe dehydration, which is one of the most common complications of this condition. It is best to generally drink plenty of water and fluids in general. 

It may not prevent the symptoms associated with diarrhoea but can prevent severe dehydration, electrolyte deficiency, and weakness. 

Final words

Metformin-induced diarrhoea can be managed by medications and balanced dietary intake. This side effect is not triggered in every other individual taking this medication. However, some people may experience more pronounced side effects of Metformin.

You may also find metformin tablet coating in your stools, which may look like undigested metformin. However, this is nothing to worry about and it’s only the tablet coating, not the actual tablet.

If you’re taking Metformin and are concerned about the side effects, please reach out to your healthcare provider. 

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National Library of Medicine. Metformin: MedlinePlus Drug Information. [updated 2022 Feb 15]. In: MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [cited 2023 Feb 15]. Available from: