There is no single treatment for managing PCOS, but its symptoms can be managed in the following ways:
It is important that all women with this condition understand some key causes and vital treatments.
Challenges including weight gain, hair growth and infertility can cause poor self esteem, anxiety and depression. A positive frame of mind is critical to be able to change your lifestyle effectively. Seek help if needed.
Weight management is really important. This includes preventing weight gain over time in addition to losing weight if you are overweight and maintaining this weight loss long term. Healthy eating and regular physical activity are vital. For more information and advice, talk to a health practitioner, exercise physiologist or dietitian.
Management of irregular periods
Regular periods help prevent excessive thickening of the lining of the uterus. Long gaps between periods can also lead to abnormal cells building up inside the womb, and it is recommended that at least four cycles per year are needed. Medications including a low-dose contraceptive pill, progesterone and metformin can be given so that menstrual bleeding occurs regularly. The pill also provides contraception.
Management of insulin resistance
Many people with PCOS may also have insulin resistance. Healthy eating and physical activity offer the best approach. Medications including metformin can also reduce insulin resistance and hair growth, regulate periods and decrease the risk of diabetes. However, these medications may need to be initiated under specialist endocrinology supervision.
Management of infertility
First, it is important to consult your doctor to exclude other reasons for infertility. If infertility is a concern and you are above your most healthy weight, then weight management and activity is the first line of treatment. After this, medications may be used to start the release of eggs. While a surgical procedure can cause temporary ovulation, it is not often performed, as medications are as effective, with fewer complications.
Management of increased facial hair growth and acne
Contraceptives, anti-androgen drugs and metformin can be used for the treatment of acne and excess facial hair. Cosmetic advice on waxing and laser hair removal is best taken initially from dermatologists or endocrinologists rather than beauticians.
A diagnosis of PCOS is not the end of the world. With support and accurate health advice, it can be managed well and you can live a comfortable and fulfilling life.