Sexual Health Q&A

How is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) treated?

There is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but some of the symptoms can be managed.

Lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet or increased physical activity, can help in several ways. Losing weight can help women’s bodies process blood sugar more effectively. It can also help stabilize hormone levels and regulate menstrual cycles. Women should talk to their doctors before making any dietary changes or starting an exercise program.

Some women take medications to manage PCOS symptoms. Birth control pills may be prescribed to regulate periods, decrease levels of androgens (“male hormones”) and reduce acne. Women might also take a diabetes drug like metformin to control blood sugar or an anti-androgen drug to treat acne and reduce hair growth.

Women who would like to become pregnant might consider fertility drugs or in vitro fertilization.