Can PCOS Be Cured?

Woman meeting with doctor holding stomach in discomfort
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A genetic link has been discovered in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Some research even thinks that women start to develop PCOS in the womb. Researchers still aren’t quite sure what exactly causes PCOS and while a quick search on the internet will give you lots of sites that promise a cure for PCOS, these misleading sites with clever marketing sell products that promise weight loss or a cure which doesn't exist.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS. But like type 2 diabetes, it is a condition that can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications, supplements, and routine checkups with your doctor.

Managing PCOS

While there is no cure for PCOS, it can be managed by making a few adjustments in your lifestyle. There has been a tremendous amount of media coverage about the growing obesity epidemic and the need to change our diet and exercise habits. This is particularly true of women with PCOS because women with this syndrome are more prone to health complications related to their heart and blood sugar. They are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Having both of these factors puts women with PCOS at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. If you're not sure where to start, consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in PCOS.

While making changes to your diet and exercise habits will not cure PCOS, they can help reduce your risk for future health complications. You don’t need to completely eliminate one food type or another, but 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. 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 doctor.

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 also 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.

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

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