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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Topic Overview

Regular exercise, healthy foods, and weight control are the key treatments for PCOS. Treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms and help prevent long-term health problems.

  • Try to fit in moderate activity and/or vigorous activity often. Walking is a great exercise that most people can do.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods. This includes lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains. It limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats, cheeses, and fried foods.
  • Most women who have PCOS can benefit from losing weight. Even losing 10 lb (4.5 kg) may help get your hormones in balance and regulate your menstrual cycle.
  • If you smoke, consider quitting. Women who smoke have higher androgen levels that may contribute to PCOS symptoms.1

Your doctor also may prescribe birth control pills to reduce symptoms, metformin to help you have regular menstrual cycles, or fertility medicines if you are having trouble getting pregnant.

It is important to see your doctor for follow-up to make sure that treatment is working and to adjust it if needed. You may also need regular tests to check for diabetes, high blood pressure, and other possible problems.

It may take a while for treatments to help with symptoms such as facial hair or acne. You can use over-the-counter or prescription medicines for acne.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to other women who have PCOS.

Learning about PCOS:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

Living with PCOS:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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