Skip to Content

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder that causes cysts to form on your ovaries. Cysts are bumps that are filled with fluid. The cysts can prevent your ovaries from working correctly.



  • Birth control pills: These medicines have female hormones, and may decrease male hormone levels. Birth control pills may control your periods, prevent cysts, or cause them to shrink. They also help decrease your risk of endometrial cancer and correct abnormal bleeding.
  • Hypoglycemic medicines: These help to lower your blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance. They are also used to lower male hormone levels and help you ovulate.
  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling and pain. You can buy NSAIDs without a doctor's order. Ask your healthcare provider which medicine is right for you, and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or gynecologist as directed:

You may need to return to have more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your blood sugar and blood pressure:

Your healthcare provider may want you to check your blood sugar levels and blood pressure at home. Keep a record and bring this to your follow-up visits. Blood sugar is measured with a glucose monitor. The monitor tests a small drop of blood. Blood pressure is measured with a cuff that you put on your arm and tighten. Ask for more information on how to measure your blood sugar and blood pressure.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. Weight loss may help reduce the complications of PCOS.
  • Exercise: Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can help decrease blood sugar and blood pressure. It may also help with weight loss.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. A dietitian may help you plan meals that are lower in carbohydrates to help you manage your blood sugar levels. Too much carbohydrate at one time can raise your blood sugar to a high level.

Contact your healthcare provider or gynecologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You feel weak or tired.
  • You have pain during sex.
  • Your pain is worse or does not go away after you take your pain medicine.
  • You have trouble urinating or emptying your bladder completely.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a severe headache or feel dizzy.
  • You vomit multiple times and cannot keep food or liquids down.
  • You have blurred or double vision.
  • Your breath has a fruity sweet smell, or you feel short of breath.
  • You have severe lower abdominal or pelvic pain.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.