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Treatment Options for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Treatment Options for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a very common medical condition among women of reproductive age. It is often caused by metabolic abnormalities and leads to irregular menses and infertility. Despite its name, PCOS is not primarily a problem in the ovaries but a lack of proper communication between the brain and the ovaries. It is common that pre-diabetes and elevated insulin levels play a role in most cases of PCOS. If you have been recently diagnosed it is important to understand your treatment options for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Treatment Options for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Women with PCOS have symptoms that include irregular menses, increased facial and abdominal hair growth, or acne. There is no cure or treatment options for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) that will make it go away entirely, however, there are ways to manage the symptoms. If a woman is not trying to conceive, often treatment with oral contraceptives will help regulate menses and decrease any abnormal hair growth. Glucose reducing medication can help with some of the metabolic abnormalities for women who are experiencing PCOS. Very often women with PCOS who are obese or even normal weight may show evidence of insulin resistance. These patients can benefit from a drug called Metformin.

Unfortunately, some women with PCOS have undiagnosed diabetes and additional medication is sometimes needed. In addition to oral contraceptives which lowers testosterone levels, sometimes a medication called spironolactone is used for treatment of the abnormal hair growth. This medication which blocks testosterone receptors is also helpful in decreasing the abnormal hair growth.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Fertility

In women with PCOS who are trying to conceive, there are two ovulation inducing agents that are often used. One of these medicines is prescribed to take orally for five days and try to trick the brain into sending proper signals to the ovaries. For decades a medicine called clomid was used for women with PCOS. However, a new medication called letrozole is more frequently used as it has fewer side effects and a lower chance of twin pregnancy. Sometimes Metformin is used to help ovulation, as well as, another medication called dexamethasone.

If oral medications as a first-line therapy are unable to help a patient ovulate, injectable medications such as Gonal-F or Menopur are used. These medicines bypass the brain and directly stimulate the eggs in the ovaries to mature and another medication that is prescribed called hCG causes the eggs to mature and be released. Although clomid and letrozole are sometimes utilized by general OB/GYNs, the use of Gonal-F or Menopur are utilized more commonly by reproductive endocrinologists.

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At Fertility Centers of New England, patients come to us because they are struggling with infertility and/or miscarriages. If you have more questions treatment options for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), please contact us for a free consultation.

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