Women's Health

What are the Treatment Options for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

What are the Treatment Options for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal disorder in women that may cause menstrual problems and issues with pregnancy. It is caused by imbalance of reproductive hormones which create problems in the ovaries. As a part of healthy menstrual cycle each month the ovaries release an egg.  With PCOS the development of egg may not happen the way it should be or it may not release the egg the way it should during ovulation. PCOS causes missed or irregular menstrual periods which can lead to infertility and development of cysts.

The symptoms of PCOS are:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Acne
  • Thinning of hair
  • Darkening of skin
  • Skin tags

It is a common disorder that affects about one in 15 women. If left untreated, it may lead to many complications, including heart disease and diabetes. Appropriate and timely treatment is essential to control the symptoms and to prevent further issues.

There is no cure but the symptoms can be managed. You and your doctor can work on the treatment plan. The treatment plan can be based on the symptoms, child planning and the risk for long-term health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Treatment options and recommendations often vary from one person to another, and are based on individual concerns, like infertility, obesity, and acne. Medications are prescribed to regulate the menstrual pattern and to improve ovulation.

Hormonal birth control such as pill, patch, shot, virginal ring and hormone intrauterine IUD make the menstrual more regular, lower the risk of endometrial cancer and help improve acne, facial hair and hair on the body. Low doses of birth control pills with a combination of estrogen and progesterone is prescribed to regulate the menstrual cycle, particularly in women who are not trying to get pregnant. This helps to reduce the levels of androgen, prevents abnormal bleeding, and also reduces the risk of endometrial cancer. Progesterone is also suggested for 10 to 14 days a month to regulate menstrual flow and to lower the risk of endometrial cancer. Progesterone is not known to reduce the levels of androgen. Metformin, the medication used to lower insulin levels, is recommended to improve ovulation and to regularize the menstrual cycle.

Even if a woman does not have any signs of type 2 diabetes or is not insulin resistant still the doctor may prescribe this drug for women with PCOS.  This drug comes with risk and side effects. Talk to your doctor before choosing this medicine. Along with this drug many natural therapies can be used to improve the condition. Prolonged use of metformin can cause malabsorption of vitamin B12. Metformin usually has fewer effects on acne and extra facial and body hair. Recent research has revealed that other positive effects such as lowering body mass and improving the level of cholesterol may also be shown by metformin.

Isotretinoin is used for treating severe acne. It reduces the amount of oil produced by the skin and shrinks the oil gland in the skin. It has numerous side effects hence usually prescribed by a specialist. It should not be used during pregnancy.

Clomid is another drug recommended for women with PCOS. This is given to hyper stimulate the ovaries to ovulate. The problem encountered here is that clomid does not the resolve the issue though it may help women to get pregnant.

For those who are trying to get pregnant, medications are recommended to help ovulation. Anti-estrogen drugs, like clomiphene citrate, are recommended in the first part of the menstrual cycle. In some cases, metformin is given along with clomiphene to induce ovulation. If these two medications are not helpful in getting pregnant, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone are injected to induce formation of follicles and ovulation.

As the level of androgen increases, medications are prescribed to reduce the effect of this hormone on the skin. Birth control pills and eflornithine are the usual options for slowing down the growth of hair on the face.

Low dose contraceptive pills are effective in controlling excess hair growth and improving acne. Cyproterone acetate is another anti-androgen, spironolactone which works similar to contraceptive pill.

Hormone therapy helps to correct ovary hormones, correct menstrual problems, birth control hormones, keeps the endometrial lining from building up for too long and thus prevent uterine cancer. It also helps with acne, male-type hair growth. In combination with birth control pills androgen lowering spironolactone is often used which helps in hair loss and hirsutism.

In vitro fertilization IVF- this option is used when the medicines do not work. In the laboratory the egg is fertilized with the partner’s sperm. The egg is placed in the uterus of the female for impanation and development. The pregnancy rates are higher in this option and the risks of twins and triplets are better controlled.

Ovarian drilling-if the other options do not work then surgery is also another option. In women with PCOS the outer covering of the ovaries is thick which is believed to play a role in preventing spontaneous ovulation. Ovarian drilling is done to restore and stimulate ovulation but only for six to eight months. In this surgery few holes are made in the surface of the ovary and it is done by lasers or fine needle heated with electricity.

Mostly the cause of the disease PCOS is not known and most of the doctors believe that the irregular imbalances and genetics plays an important role. Mostly it is found that PCOS is hereditary disease and the women can suffer from the disease if her mother or sister has the disease earlier. The women can get the disease faster if the women suffer from the overproduction of the hormone androgen – which is considered as one more contributing factor which causes PCOS to the women.

The women having higher level of androgen which causes faster development of eggs which can be released during the process of ovulation. The excess insulin which is mainly used for converting sugars and the starches into the energies and it could increase the level of androgen. The disease can occur in the women from the first time of the menstruate period.

The severity of the disease depends on the health condition of the person and also symptoms seen in the person. For some women the symptoms can be highly effective and can affect the person and for some other women the symptoms will be low and could not affect except for minor changes.  The first thing that occurs when a woman gets the PCOS infection is, the women will have irregular and excessive menstrual periods. It is painful and makes the woman feel tired and weak.

Getting regular exercise and eating healthy food is equally important in controlling the symptoms of PCOS:

  • Include regular, moderate activity, like walking in the routine. Exercise helps to shed extra weight, improves insulin sensitivity and increases metabolism. Aerobic and resistance exercises work well with people having PCOS. But exercise programs should be avoided since it can overwork the adrenal gland. This may cause inflammation and make the condition worse. Incorporate restorative exercise programs such as walking, lifting weighs, taking a Pilate class running on a treadmill, doing some Zumba and then fertility yoga. Do this 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
  • Organic food – commercial meats contain larger amount of estrogen. This is because the animal is made to grow faster, bigger and produce more milk by injecting this hormone.  Eating such meat may make PCOS worse since already in PCOS there is a progesterone deficiency and adding more estrogen may make the condition worse. Studies have revealed that organic foods contain vitamins, minerals and high protein diet.
  • Enjoy healthy diets with lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, like fried items, cheese, and meat. If blood sugar levels are high, opt for a low amount of carbohydrates in the meal. Protein intake with equal amount of carbohydrate helps to keep insulin at a balanced level. This increases the fertility of women. More protein and fiber is present in whole grain and sprouted grain products than the processed ones. Whole grains and sprouted grain products include Ezekiel bread, spelt, millet, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. Proteins eaten should be organic, since they contain essential fatty acids which reduce the negative impact on hormonal imbalance.
  • Low glycemic index and glycemic load list- when we eat a meal containing carb the blood glucose level rises and falls. The level depends on the kind of carbohydrate eaten. Eat foods low on glycemic index. These are those foods which contain carbohydrates that break down slowly in the body. They do not cause a dramatic rise and fall in insulin level. The amount of glycemic food consumed and how it affects your blood sugar level is taken into consideration by you glycemic load. Glycemic load is the best way to predict the glucose value and different types of food and its amount. If you have insulin resistant PCOS and are overweight then do not eat more then 100g of low glycemic index carbohydrates. Increase food low on glycemic index. Consume such foods over 100g if you are thinner or overweight. Foods low on glycemic index carbohydrates are beans, lentils, broccoli, asparagus, walnuts and almonds. Foods high in glycemic index are sugary and starchy foods such as pancakes, white potatoes, scones, white bread products, pasta, alcoholic beverages, sugar and syrup.
  • Eat diet rich in fiber- fibers promotes healthy estrogen metabolism which helps in    reducing the increased androgen level and also fibers slow down the digestion of sugars in the body. So there is no dramatic rise in insulin. In these two ways fibers help with PCOS. Great fiber sources are broccoli, celery, Ezekiel bread, dark leafy greens, apples and whole grains.
  • Eat essential fatty acids- they help to lose weight help in balancing the hormones and are they create healthy environment for conception by building our body. Best sources are omega 3 fatty acids obtained from cod liver oil and omega 6 obtained from evening primrose oil. Cod liver oil is rich in DHA which is important fro baby’s brain development. It can be taken during pregnancy. Evening primrose aids in increasing cervical mucosa and metabolic functions.  It can be used along with flax or cod liver oils.
  • Lose extra pounds, as it helps to maintain hormonal balance and to make the menstrual cycle regular.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Quit caffeine- it increase the level of estrogen. 70% more estrogen is produced by the body in the follicular phase of menstrual cycle in women who drink 4-5 cups coffee a day.  Teecino is a coffee alternative that tastes great and is alkalizing for the body.

Ensure that you go for follow-ups without fail to see that treatment is working and can be modified, if need be. 

Following PCOS diet provides the following benefits:

  • It increases the rate of spontaneous ovulation
  • Increases the chances of healthy conception
  • Decreases the chances of miscarriage
  • Prevent insulin resistance from turning into diabetes
  • Improve the environment of the uterus and prepares the uterus for implantation.

The symptoms that the disease PCOS can display are :

The women after having the higher level of androgen which are hormones of masculine character. The increase in the androgen brings changes in the women body. the women start getting excessive hair on the on the face, chest, back and also on arms and stomach. The hair can also be seen on the toes and on thumb.

  • The disease PCOS when strikes, the body of the woman changes. The breast size gets reduced and looks smaller.
  • The disease PCOS also influence the woman body and the during the time the voice of the woman changes and becomes deeper.
  • The women also face the problems relating to the hair loss. Hair around scalp start falling and start becoming shorter.
  • The disease PCOS harms the woman body by reducing the hair step by step and start bringing changes in the body.

The other major symptoms that a woman faces while getting infected by the virus PCOS are :

  • The women start gaining their weight faster. the overweight problem becomes critical and it leads to many other unwanted situations.   Women feel the pain and also feel helpless because it restricts the movement of the women.
  • The situation which is painful and intense makes women worried about the disease they face. women get helpless and it leads to the depression. It takes longer time to bring the women back into the normal life.
  • Mostly the women suffering from the disease PCOS, could led to other major health problems such as problem of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol which can add to the complications of the disease. Most of the time these symptoms of the disease can lead to the problem of weight gain.

Problem of Infertility

The problem of PCOS can lead to the serious issue of infertility. Most of the women fear of infertility because it creates an unwanted situation in life of women. Infertility can be caused due to the various symptoms of the disease which act on the body and makes the unhealthy and weak.

While not symptoms of the disease, many women with PCOS have other concurrent health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. These are linked to the weight gain typical in

Diagnosis of PCOS

To diagnosis the disease PCOS, there is no need of any particular test. The disease can be detected by the doctor after the medical check-up and after understanding the medical history of the patient. The doctor can check the patient’s behaviour for the possible symptoms. There is no definitive test for PCOS. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms. The doctor can have the medical examination of the pelvis to confirm the disease PCOS. The medical test which finds out the more about ovaries which have become swollen and also the clitoris which is also in the swollen state.

Doctor can also perform blood test to find out the status of hormones.  Also the thyroid function test can be performed by the doctors to determine the quantity of thyroid hormones which were produced while having the infection.

The glucose tests are conducted on the women having detected the disease PCOS, to find out condition of sugar and to determine blood-sugar levels. The test called lipid level test can be performed on the patient to determine the level of cholesterol in the blood which is an essential part of the diagnosis.

The vaginal ultrasound test is highly useful and it helps in studying the reproductive organs in the body. the test is carried with the help of a tiny camera which will be inserted into the abdomen with small incision. The camera can help the physician to view the internal organs clearly. It helps the doctors in understanding the patient’s condition and also it helps in taking quicker decisions.

Treatment for the disease PCOS?

The disease can be treated by focusing the symptoms of the patient who has been suffering from PCOS disease.  The treatment of the disease will vary from one woman to other woman and it depends on various factors such as the health condition of the patient, the level of symptoms that the patient is having and the severity of the disease.

Also one has to change the lifestyle by changing the old and unhealthy habits which could cause more damage to your health. You should have healthy diet, regular exercises and the frequent visits to the doctor to have medical check-up.

Various medical treatments for PCOS include:

The oral contraceptive pill

When a patient suffers from uneven and heavy periods, make use of oral contraceptive pill. The pill is mainly suggested for contraception and to regulate the menstrual cycle. The oral contraceptive pill also minimizes excessive hair growth and it also prevents the lining of womb getting thick.

The oral contraceptive pill is also used to block hormones which are in the form of testosterone.

It also helps in preventing many other side effects effectively.

The infertility medications  

The medication is useful in handling the infertility problem. The clomiphene citrate is effective in medicine which is taken orally and it help in producing the eggs in the ovaries and the process is called ovulation.

Psychological therapy

Consult the doctor and ask him the best and the most suitable treatments for the disease you are suffering.  

Allow PCOS management team to treat you better

The approach of the entire team is to help, guide and manage your difficulties when you have the disease. The health care team is consisting of experts, doctors, nurses and the advisers who will help you in getting your disease cure in short span of time.