PCOS is a group of findings that can explain irregular periods (and subsequent infertility), excess male hormone production, and pre-diabetes. The exact mechanism behind PCOS is not well understood. The good news is that our understanding of optimal treatments for PCOS patients is better understood. Additionally, the diagnosis is one that may come and go throughout the reproductive years. A teenager diagnosed with PCOS may no longer meet criteria in her late 20’s. Several questions must be explored with each patient including: whether or not excess male hormone production is problematic, whether or not pre-diabetes is a factor, and when or if a patient wants to conceive a pregnancy. For most patients, the goals are to normalize the frequency and flow of menstrual flow and to decrease acne or unwanted hair growth. Help with conception and fertility should be individualized between the provider and patient, but is typically one of the easiest causes of infertility to treat.
Long-term treatment goals should include regular cardiovascular exercise, maintaining a goal body weight or body mass index, and a healthy low-glycemic index diet.