PCOS Treatment

Fertility Medications
The main fertility problem for women with PCOS is the lack of ovulation. Even so, her fallopian tubes, as well as her partner's sperm count, should be checked before fertility medications are used.
Clomiphene (pills) and gonadotropins (shots) can be used to stimulate ovulation. Women with PCOS are at increased risk for multiple births when using these medications.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is sometimes recommended to control the chance of having triplets or more. Metformin can be taken with fertility medications and helps to make women with PCOS ovulate on lower doses of the fertility medication.
Drugs for Increased Hair Growth or Extra Male Hormones
If a woman is not trying to get pregnant, some other PCOS treatment options can be used that may reduce hair growth. Spironolactone is a blood pressure medicine that has been shown to decrease the effect of male hormones on hair. Propecia®, a medicine taken by men for hair loss, is another medication that blocks this effect. Both of these medicines can affect the development of a male fetus, however, and should not be taken if pregnancy is possible.
Other nonmedical treatments, such as electrolysis or laser hair removal, are effective at getting rid of unwanted hair. A woman with PCOS can also undergo hormonal treatment to keep new hair from growing.
Although it is not recommended as a first-line treatment for PCOS, a surgical procedure called ovarian drilling is available to induce ovulation.
In this procedure, the doctor makes a very small incision (cut) above or below the navel and inserts a small instrument that acts like a telescope into the abdomen (stomach). This is called laparoscopy. The doctor then punctures the ovary with a small needle carrying an electric current to destroy a small portion of the ovary.
This procedure carries a risk of developing scar tissue on the ovary. This surgery can lower male hormone levels and help with ovulation. However, these effects may only last a few months. This PCOS treatment doesn't help with increased hair growth and loss of scalp hair.

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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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