Home treatment can help you manage the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and live a healthy life.
Healthy eating and exercise
Eat a balanced diet. A diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products supplies your body's nutritional needs, satisfies your hunger, and decreases your cravings. And a healthy diet makes you feel better and have more energy.
You may see a registered dietitian who has special knowledge about diabetes.
For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
- Healthy Eating: Recognizing Your Hunger Signals.
- Healthy Eating: Getting Support When Changing Your Eating Habits.
Make physical activity a regular and essential part of your life. Choose fitness activities that are right for you to help boost your motivation. Walking is one of the best activities. Having a walking or exercise partner that you can count on can also be a great way to stay active. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
- Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life.
Weight control and weight loss
Stay at a healthy weight. This is the weight at which you feel good about yourself, have energy for work and play, and can manage your PCOS symptoms.
If you need to lose weight, doing so will lower your risks for diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and high cholesterol.2
A modest weight loss can improve high androgen and high insulin levels and infertility. Weight loss of as little as 5% to 7% over 6 months can reduce androgen levels enough to restore ovulation and fertility in more than 75% of women who have PCOS.5
Losing weight can be hard, but you can do it. The easiest way to start is by cutting calories and becoming more active. For help, see the topic Weight Management.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke have higher levels of androgens than women who don't smoke.1Smoking also increases the risk for heart disease. For more information, see Quitting Smoking.
Caring for skin and hair
Acne treatment may include nonprescription or prescription medicines that you put on your skin (topical) or take by mouth (oral). Some women notice an improvement in their acne after using estrogen-progestin hormone pills. For more information, see the topic Acne.
Excess hair growth (hirsutism) slows when high androgen levels decrease. In the meantime, you can remove or treat unwanted hair with:
- Laser hair removal, in which the hair follicle is destroyed by a laser beam.
- Electrolysis, in which your hair is permanently removed by electric current applied to the hair root.
- Depilatories, which are chemical hair removal products applied to the skin.
- Waxing, which pulls the hair out by the root.
Hair removal methods differ in cost and long-term effectiveness. Before trying one, ask your doctor about risks of infection and scarring.