Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Topic Overview
You may also have a pelvic
ultrasound to look for cysts on your ovaries. Your
doctor may be able to tell you that you have PCOS without an ultrasound, but
this test will help him or her rule out other problems.
How is it treated?
Regular exercise, healthy
foods, and weight control are key treatments for PCOS. Medicines to balance
hormones may also be used. Getting treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms
and help prevent long-term health problems.
first step in managing PCOS is to get regular exercise and eat heart-healthy
foods. This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk
of diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you lose weight if you need
- Try to fit in
moderate activity and/or
vigorous activity on a regular basis. Walking is a
great exercise that most people can do.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet.
In general, this diet has lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole
grains. It also limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats,
cheeses, and fried foods. If you have blood sugar problems, try to eat about
the same amount of
carbohydrate at each meal. A
registered dietitian can help you make a meal
- Most women who have PCOS can benefit from losing weight. Even
losing 10 lb (4.5 kg) may help
get your hormones in balance and regulate your menstrual cycle. PCOS can make
it hard to lose weight, so work with your doctor to make a plan that can help
- If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke
have higher androgen levels that may contribute to PCOS symptoms.1Smoking also increases the risk for heart disease.
A doctor may also prescribe medicines, such as:
- Birth control pills. They can help your
periods be regular and can reduce symptoms such as excess facial hair and acne.
An androgen-lowering medicine, spironolactone, may be used with birth control
pills to help reduce symptoms even more. These medicines are not used if you
are trying to get pregnant.
- A diabetes medicine called metformin.
It can help restore
regular menstrual cycles and fertility.
- Fertility medicines, if
you are trying to get pregnant.
It is important to see your doctor for follow-up to make
sure treatment is working and to adjust it if needed. You may also need regular
tests to check for diabetes, high blood pressure, and other possible
It may take a while for treatments to help with symptoms
such as facial hair or acne. In the meantime:
- Over-the-counter or prescription acne
medicines may help with skin problems.
- Waxing, tweezing, and
shaving are easy ways to get rid of unwanted hair. Electrolysis or laser
treatments can permanently remove the hair but are more expensive. Your doctor
can also prescribe a skin cream that slows hair growth for as long as you use