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Overview of medications used to treat PCOS symptoms

10 Jun 2024

About millions of women are affected by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) worldwide suffering through a lot of symptoms starting from hormonal imbalance, problems with fertility, irregularity in periods and so on.

Going through PCOS can be difficult and we completely understand your concerns. We understand how treatments can seem overwhelming and symptoms can seem stressful. No problem, we’ll guide you through it. The PCOS medications, PCOS treatments, lifestyle, therapy and all else that you need to know.

What are the medications for PCOS?

As a PCOS patient, it is important to be careful about the medications you take. However, do consult your doctor before getting into anything.

  • Birth Control Pills: These oral contraceptives help regulate your period cycle while also keeping your androgen levels low and diminish acne and hair growth symptoms.
  • Anti-androgen Medications: These drugs prevent how androgens affect your body. Again diminishing symptoms like acne and hair growth.
  • Metformin: although normally used for type 2 diabetes patients, this medication is good for improving your insulin resistance leading to a regularity in your ovulation process and increasing your fertility.
  • Clomiphene: when trying to get pregnant, this is a medication that your doctor may recommend, possibly for ovulation and increasing the probability of pregnancy.

What are the PCOS Fertility Treatments?

It is very common for a PCOS patient to face fertility problems, however, there are many PCOS fertility treatments available for improving your chances of getting pregnant.

  • Ovulation Induction: Some medications for PCOS help stimulate ovulation, helping with pregnancy.
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): IVF is a treatment helpful for women who haven’t had success trying other PCOS fertility treatments. This is where the eggs are fertilised outside of the body and then placing the embryos in the uterus.
  • Ovarian Drilling: This is when your doctor will make small holes in your ovaries to help stimulate ovulation.

What Lifestyle Changes should I make?

In most conditions, making lifestyle modifications is as important and effective as medications and treatments are. Similarly, lifestyle changes for PCOS can impact the symptoms.

  • Healthy Diet: Consume a balanced diet inclusive of fruits, proteins, grains and veggies. Avoid processed foods, simple carbs and sugar. These can make your insulin resistance worse.
  • Regular Exercise: involve in some physical activity or exercise daily. This will keep you healthy in general. Perform at least 30 mins of exercise a minimum of 5 days a week.
  • Stress Management: As with any other condition, stress can also worsen your PCOS symptoms. Indulge in activities that help reduce stress such as meditation, reading or yoga.

What Surgical options do I have?

While surgery is typically considered a last resort for PCOS treatment, it may be necessary in certain cases:

  • Ovarian Wedge Resection: Similar to ovarian drilling, this procedure involves removing a wedge-shaped piece of the ovary to restore ovulation.
  • Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling: A minimally invasive surgery where the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen and uses a special tool to puncture the ovaries, promoting ovulation.

Alternative Therapies for PCOS

In addition to conventional treatments, some women find relief from symptoms through alternative therapies for PCOS:

  • Acupuncture: This Chinese therapy includes the insertion of thin needles in specific points in your body to help restore balance and lower the symptoms.
  • Herbal Supplements: some herbs are known to have healing properties that help with hormone regulation and lower your symptoms. Some of these are spearmint, cinnamon and saw palmetto.
  • Nutritional Supplements: Some nutritional supplements are known for bringing visible changes in PCOS symptoms. These are supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and inositol.

A PCOS lifestyle can look challenging but the right treatments, medications, lifestyle habits etc can help not only manage your symptoms but also improve your quality of life. But amidst all of this, remember that working closely with your doctor is important. They may help you develop a personalised plan that’s suiting to your needs and goals. But there’s more that you may need in this journey; patience, perseverance and support. With the help of these, you can very well navigate through the PCOS journey. Take little steps but keep going You will get there eventually.

About the Author

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Devina Aswal
MBBS, DDM, FCR, CIC

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