Can PCOS Be Cured?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A big reason why is that researchers still aren’t quite sure exactly what causes it. While a quick internet search will point you to many sites that tout a cure for PCOS, it's important to know that one has not been scientifically confirmed. However, like type 2 diabetes, PCOS can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, supplements, and routine check-ups with your healthcare provider.

Charming female doctor giving advice to a female patient.
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Managing PCOS

There has been a tremendous amount of media coverage about the growing obesity epidemic and the need to change diet and exercise habits. This is particularly true of women with PCOS because they are more prone to health complications related to their heart and blood sugar.

Women with PCOS are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol—two factors that put them at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Making changes to your diet and exercise habits can help reduce your risk for future health complications related to PCOS. You don’t need to completely eliminate one food type or another, but you will need to work to reduce the amount of sugar (white, processed sugar) that you eat, and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

If you're not sure where to start, consider working with a registered dietitian or nutritionist who specializes in PCOS.

You should also incorporate some form of regular exercise into your routine. Start slow and work your way up as you are able. Make sure to discuss your new exercise plan with your healthcare provider.

Treatment for PCOS

Treating PCOS involves managing the symptoms and your particular goals. If you are bothered by an increase in hair growth or loss, acne, or other physical symptoms, there are medications, like spironolactone and the birth control pill, available to treat them. You can take specific acne or hair loss medications as well.

If you aren’t getting a regular period, this can increase your risk of endometrial cancer. Taking the pill will cause your cycles to regulate, minimizing your risk. If you are trying to get pregnant, again, your gynecologist or infertility specialist can prescribe a treatment program to help you.

If you are struggling to lose weight and are insulin resistant, you may benefit from treatment with metformin or inositol.

May 28, 2020: The FDA has requested that manufacturers of certain formulations of metformin voluntarily withdraw the product from the market after the agency identified unacceptable levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). Patients should continue taking their metformin as prescribed until their health professional is able to prescribe an alternative treatment, if applicable. Stopping metformin without a replacement can pose serious health risks to patients with type 2 diabetes.

While PCOS will never go away, managing it can prevent it from getting worse or developing into more serious diseases. The important thing is to understand the syndrome and what your treatment goals are. Speak with your healthcare provider as necessary and make sure those goals are addressed.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Daniilidis A, Dinas K. Long term health consequences of polycystic ovarian syndrome: a review analysisHippokratia. 2009;13(2):90-92.

  3. McCartney CR, Marshall JC. Polycystic Ovary SyndromeN Engl J Med. 2016;375(1):54-64. doi:10.1056/NEJMcp1514916

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  5. Marshall JC, Dunaif A. Should all women with PCOS be treated for insulin resistanceFertil Steril. 2012;97(1):18-22. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.11.036

Additional Reading

By Nicole Galan, RN
Nicole Galan, RN, is a registered nurse and the author of "The Everything Fertility Book."