The good news is that PCOS can be treated. “There are a number of ways we can treat PCOS depending on your fertility goals, age, overall health and the severity of your symptoms,” Dr. Brophy says.
If you plan to become pregnant, potential treatment options include:
- Lifestyle modifications – Eating a healthy diet and getting more physical activity can help reduce symptoms, especially if you are overweight. Sometimes weight loss of only two to five pounds can help your ovaries ovulate normally again.
- Medications to cause ovulation – There are medications available to help ovaries release eggs normally, but they can cause abdominal bloating and pelvic pain. These medications also have been associated with a slight increased chance for a multiple birth (twins or more).
If you do not plan to become pregnant, treatment options may include:
- Birth control pills – In addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control pills can help you regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce acne by lowering androgen levels.
- Diabetes medication – If you have insulin resistance, your doctor may recommend medication. This could help reduce androgen levels, slow hair growth and regulate your menstrual cycle.
- Lifestyle modifications – Making sure you have a healthy diet and get enough physical activity can help you manage symptoms.
Dr. Brophy says that while symptoms associated with PCOS seem mild, the condition can lead to serious health conditions if left untreated. “Women with PCOS are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems and uterine cancer. It also can impact your ability to become pregnant,” she says.