MANAGEMENT OF PCOS
The management of PCOS will depend on your symptoms and what is most important to you, which could include:
- managing symptoms such as irregular cycles, acne and/or excess hair
- improving fertility
- reducing anxiety and depression
- reducing the risk of future health problems such as diabetes and heart disease
Lifestyle changes should be the first step in managing PCOS for all women with the condition. Medication and/or surgery may also be needed but should be used in combination with lifestyle changes to be most effective.
Lifestyle Changes are an essential part of managing PCOS. Intensive treatment with diet, exercise and weight reduction has been shown to be effective in improving symptoms and restoring ovulation in women with PCOS. In fact, losing just 5-10% of your weight has been shown to reduce insulin levels, improve menstrual function, reduce testosterone (male hormone) levels, improve symptoms of hirsutism (excess hair growth) and acne, restore ovulation and increase fertility. Even if you are not overweight, a healthy eating plan, regular exercise and the prevention of weight gain are important.
Medical Treatment of PCOS will depend on your symptoms and what you are trying to achieve from treatment. This may include:
- Oral Contraceptives are used to regulate menstrual cycles and improve symptoms of excess male hormones. They can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer by causing regular menstruation. However there is some evidence that they may increase insulin resistance in some women with PCOS.
- Metformin is a medication used for diabetes which lowers insulin levels and has been found to be helpful in improving ovulation and fertility in women with PCOS. It may also help to reduce diabetes risk.
- Anti-androgens block the effects of male hormones, thereby helping to reduce acne and unwanted hair growth. Examples include spironolactone (Aldactone) and Androcur.
- Fertility Drugs such as clomid (clomiphene) which help with ovulation.
- Surgery, such as ovarian drilling (electrical cautery) may also be used in some cases to destory some of the cysts within the ovary and encourage ovulation.
At the PCOS Health & Nutrition Centre we provide you with the education and support to make the lifestyle changes that are the key to managing your PCOS, whether or not you choose any medical intervention. For more information or to make an appointment with Kate, please email via our contact page or call 0416 747 747.