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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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There is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and it does not go away on its own. Treatment of PCOS is aimed at reducing its symptoms and preventing further complications. Options depend on the type and severity of the individual woman's symptoms and her desire to become pregnant.

  • Diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight may help many women manage the symptoms of PCOS. These lifestyle changes are recommended to help decrease insulin resistance. Weight reduction can also decrease testosterone, insulin, and LH levels. Regular exercise and healthy foods will help lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as improve sleep apnea problems. Refraining from smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products also may lower androgen levels.
  • Drugs such as metformin may be prescribed to treat insulin resistance and diabetes. Metformin may also help to regulate menstrual periods and encourage ovulation.
  • Waxing, shaving, depilatory, and electrolysis or laser treatments may be used to remove excess facial and body hair.
  • Antibiotics or retinoic acids may be used to treat acne.
  • Oral contraceptives may be prescribed to help normalize menstrual periods.
  • Other medications may also be prescribe to:
    • Stabilize hormone levels
    • Treat more severe acne and/or excess hair
    • Encourage or induce ovulation
    • Decrease the risk of endometrial cancer

For more on treatment, see the resources in the Related Pages section.

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