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Can Birth Control Help With the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Yes, hormonal birth control can help treat the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In fact, birth control is the main treatment medical providers prescribe to women with this condition.

What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that occurs when a woman’s reproductive hormones get out of balance. Affected women’s ovaries don’t release a properly developed egg during ovulation as they should. Thus, PCOS is a common cause of missed or irregular periods and infertility. In fact, one in 10 women of childbearing age have it. Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular periods.
  • Excessive facial and body hair.
  • Acne.
  • Hair loss or thinning.
  • Weight gain.
  • Skin darkening.
  • Skin tags.

Women with PCOS have more male hormones, called androgens, than normal, which cause these male-pattern signs.

How Does Birth Control Help?

Birth control containing the hormones estrogen and progestin can help counter the effects of PCOS. Specifically they:

  • Lower your androgen levels.
  • Help clear acne.
  • Reduce unwanted hair growth.
  • Make your periods more regular.

If you’re not trying to get pregnant, you can choose from a variety of hormonal birth control options to treat your PCOS symptoms, including:

  • Combination or progestin-only pills.
  • Contraceptive patch.
  • Birth control shot.
  • Vaginal ring.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD).

Talk to your Nurx™ medical provider to figure out which option to try, as some are more effective against PCOS’s symptoms than others. Also, some women can’t take combination birth control, making progestin-only pills their best choice.

Other Ways to Control Symptoms of PCOS

In addition to birth control, you might try one or more of the following steps to help with your PCOS symptoms:

  • Exercise.
  • Weight loss.
  • Insulin-sensitizing medications.
  • Anti-androgens.
  • Removal of unwanted hair.
  • Acne treatments.

Again, your medical provider can give you guidance as to which treatments are best for your situation.

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