Case Study: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Learn what you need to know about PCOS, the most common cause of irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, and problems with infertility in young women.

Sanaz Majd, MD

What Is the Treatment for PCOS?

There are many ways to treat PCOS. But here are the top Quick and Dirty lifetime tips to self-treat your PCOS:

  1. Maintain a lower carbohydrate diet. Like a diabetic, PCOS women don’t metabolize sugar and carbohydrates efficiently. So limit foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, tortillas, and sweets. You shouldn’t eliminate them altogether, but do try and keep a balanced diet that is not high in carbs.

  2. Exercise: Studies have shown that getting regular cardiovascular exercise improves insulin resistance, thereby improving PCOS and causing weight loss. Exercise at least thirty minutes about five times a week, with such workouts as fast walking, running, biking, swimming, or using the stair master or elliptical.

With even a five percent weight loss, you’ll notice that your acne and body hair will improve, your periods will become more regular, your sugar levels will normalize, and you are more likely to conceive.

Medications for PCOS

If the above methods are not sufficient, there are a few prescriptions to help women with PCOS:

  1. Hormonal Contraceptives: If you are not trying to get pregnant, this will help you regulate your periods and improve your acne and abnormal hair growth.

  2. Metformin: This medication has been used to treat diabetics and is also FDA approved for women with PCOS. It helps with weight loss—as long as you are taking care of your diet and exercise--and it also helps women with PCOS ovulate and get pregnant. 

  3. Spironolactone: This is normally a blood pressure medication that also works to lower testosterone levels, thereby improving acne and excessive hair growth. However, women who are trying to get pregnant cannot take it due to potential harmful affects on the fetus.

What Happened to Bella?

Bella started a weight loss program by incorporating exercise and a low carb nutritional diet into her life. I also started her on Metformin, and she started to lose some of her weight. She got pregnant 6 months later.

Please note that all content here is strictly for informational purposes only. This content does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment or reasoning by your own personal health provider. Please always seek a licensed physician in your area regarding all health related questions and issues.

Woman Thinking image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Sanaz Majd, MD

Dr. Sanaz Majd is a board-certified Family Medicine physician who graduated from Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Her special interests are women's health and patient education. 

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