So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV
There are many ways that a woman can treat her Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. When I was diagnosed, I found out there was no cure for PCOS. More often than not, doctors like to prescribe a variety of pills or natural remedies that may or may not work and, upon the next office visit, will ask whether you feel better or worse taking those pills.
My family and I decided early on that we would let an Endocrinologist handle everything that goes on regarding my PCOS. My regular doctor at the time, whom we loved, had no knowledge regarding what I had. She did help us find the Endo that I now see on an annual basis, though.
Endocrinologists are most widely used to treat Diabetes. Their knowledge regarding that disease is priceless. Because PCOS and Diabetes are so closely related, they are often seen as those with the best knowledge in that particular area of medicine. But for my Endo, it is still a lot of guess work. She has kept me on two different medications since I was 15, and they seem to have worked. But other women with PCOS have tried the same combination and have failed to see positive results.
So, the question is, what does a woman with PCOS take in order to treat herself? Here is a list of the top 5 PCOS treatments:
1. Metformin: One of the medicines I have taken since I was diagnosed is Metformin. According to Mayo Clinic, Metformin is “an oral medication for type 2 diabetes that improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels.” The theory is that if one can lower Insulin levels, then they can level out thier hormones and begin to lose weight. It also helps regulate a woman’s meunstral cycle. Taking this medicine can be quite scary at the beginning. Many women, including myself, experience nausea during the first month of taking this pill. I quickly learned not to take my Metformin in the morning. Rather, I took it at night after eating something. Since that first month, I have not experienced any negative side effects.
2. Spironolactone: This is the second medication I use. Spironolactone is widely used to combat the testosterone levels in women with PCOS. Also said to fight hursutism, this medicine greatly reduces the amount of time spent shaving every week. It also helped me with my acne, which had been a consistent problem from the time I was 10 years old. Once I began taking this medicine, my acne began to go away. Since then, I’ve only had the occasional break- out.
3. Birth Control: Two of my doctors have asked me on multiple occasions whether I want to go on birth control in order to treat my PCOS. My answer has, and continues to be, a resounding NO! I have my own reasons for not wanting to use birth control. But for some women with PCOS, this is their treatment of choice. I have nothing against them, it is just not my thing. According to Women’s Health, this pill will control meunstral cycles, reduce male hormones and help clear acne. Apparently its my two pills in one. But there’s also a warning attached to this medication: “Keep in mind that the menstrual cycle will become abnormal again if the pill is stopped.” Case in point why I have chosen to steer clear from birth control pills.
4. Fertility Medication: I have little knowledge regarding this type of treatment. Unless one is actively trying to get pregnant, I doubt this is the right option. Women’s Health states that this would help a woman with PCOS actually ovulate, because, you know, that is important if you want to have a baby. Any woman with PCOS knows that having their meunstral cycle and ovulating are two very different things. Both do not always happen.
5. Diet and Exercise: PCOS tends to make women fat. Does not mean they all are. But I am. My doctor loves to tell me that by losing weight, I can see better results with my hormone levels and my meunstral cycles. It is true. I lost a lot of weight a couple years ago and found my cycle to be more regular. Since then, I have gained much of it back. Blame college! The funny thing is that my hormone levels are normal. If one were to look at my blood work ,they would not see an overweight teenage girl. I am very healthy, according to my labs. Its the “cover of my book” that needs some revising, if ya’ know what I mean. Although I wholeheartedly agree that weightless is important in the struggle against PCOS, the bigger picture should be focused on what can be done to combat Insulin, Testosterone and other hormone levels effected by PCOS. That is why I advocate for a Gluten free diet. PCOS Diet Support provides some great insight into why PCOS and Gluten do not mix.
As far as treatment goes, every woman is different. What works for me will not work for one of my best friends who also has PCOS. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to research and read out bodies, so that we know what works and what does not.