What are the treatment options for PCOS?
There is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but there are treatments that can help to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications and increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
The goal of PCOS treatment will be determined by your situation and the symptoms you are experiencing.
- If you want to become pregnant, your treatment will focus on improving your fertility and giving you the best chance of success.
- If you do not want to become pregnant, your treatment will focus on symptom management.
If you want to become pregnant, the following medicines may help:
- If losing weight has not helped, metformin may help you start ovulating again and make your periods more regular.
- Fertility medications, such as clomiphene citrate or gonadotropin injections, can assist your ovaries to produce eggs.
- If these medications do not help, your doctor may recommend fertility treatment, such as in vitro fertilization.
If you are not trying to get pregnant, the following medicines may help:
- Oral contraceptives can prevent your ovaries from producing excessive amounts of testosterone. This can help improve acne, make your periods more regular, and reduce the amount of excess hair growth you may have in places where you do not want it.
- If you are unable to use oral contraceptives or if they are ineffective for you, your doctor may prescribe a cream to reduce excess hair growth.
- If lifestyle changes are not working, medications, such as orlistat, can sometimes help you lose weight.
- Ethinylestradiol/cyproterone acetate is used to treat acne and excessive hair growth. It can help you get more regular periods.
- If medications do not improve your fertility, your doctor may advise you to have surgery to improve your fertility.
- If you are trying to conceive, a keyhole procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling may be an option. This reduces the amount of tissue in your ovaries, which alters the hormone balance and may cause your ovaries to release eggs again.
- Surgery is usually considered only after all other treatments have failed.
Making lifestyle changes can help you control your polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms, improve your fertility and lower your risk of long-term health problems.
Your doctor may advise you to do the following:
- If you are overweight, you should lose weight. Even losing a small amount of weight can help resume ovulation and get more regular periods.
- To help control your weight and improve your health, eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Eat a low glycemic index diet, which means eating foods that cause your blood sugar levels to rise gradually. This can help alleviate your symptoms.
A follicle is a small fluid-filled swelling that develops before an egg is released. More than one follicle begins to develop, but only one matures into a fully mature egg.
When you have polycystic ovaries, 12 or more follicles begin to develop, but none of them mature into fertile eggs. These follicles, which range in size from 2 to 9 mm, remain on your ovaries and contain undeveloped eggs.
Contrary to the popular belief, those seen in the PCOS scan are follicles on your ovaries and not cysts. You can have many follicles in your ovary and not have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). You can have PCOS even if you do not have any follicles on your ovaries.