Ovarian Cysts Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Pcos Treatment

Because polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of infertility in women, those who experience its symptoms should consult a physician to get diagnosed and begin PCOS treatment immediately.

Polycystic ovaries don’t necessarily mean a PCOS diagnosis. While those who suffer from PCOS may have polycystic ovaries, women can suffer from PCOS without their ovaries being polycystic. Conversely, others can have polycystic ovaries without necessarily suffering from PCOS.

Polycystic Ovaries Treatment

Once a physician has officially diagnosed a patient with PCOS, treatment designed for the individual woman’s goals can begin. Polycystic ovaries treatment can help a woman:

  • Minimize or eliminate hirsutism (excessive hair growth)
  • Prevent cancers related to continued lack of estrogen, namely cancer of the uterus(endometrial cancer)
  • Restore ovulation and promote fertility.

A woman diagnosed with PCOS must often decide which PCOS treatment is most important to her. For instance, doctors prescribe oral contraceptives to treat excessive hair growth and prevent certain cancers related to estrogen deficiency. On the other hand, injections of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) may promote ovulation and prevent infertility. A woman wanting children can’t take oral contraceptives, so the two treatments can’t be combined.

Because polycystic ovarian syndrome is closely associated with insulin resistance (the inability of the body to properly use insulin, thus, creating high levels of insulin in the blood), doctors may prescribe medications that lower patients’ insulin levels. The following PCOS treatment choices can also promote regular ovulation:

  • Metformin hydrochloride
  • Pioglitazone hydrochloride
  • Rosiglitazone maleate.

Although each of these PCOS treatment options has side effects that generally disappear within two to three weeks, slow-release versions can be easier on the body. Potential side effects are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of weight
  • Upset stomach.

Last-Resort PCOS Treatment Options

Unfortunately, not all patients respond to insulin-lowering PCOS treatment. The above polycystic ovaries treatment choices may not work, causing PCOS to worsen over time. In these cases, PCOS surgery or hormone therapies may be necessary. Last-resort PCOS treatment options include:

  • Laparoscopy electrocauterization: Similar to laser cauterization, laparoscopy electrocauterization uses a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a small video camera at the end) and an electric pulse to destroy harmful tissue, namely malignant cysts on the ovaries.
  • Ovarian drilling: In this polycystic ovaries treatment, doctors drill a series of small holes (about four to ten) in a woman’s ovaries to reduce the presence of cysts and promote fertility. Although ovarian drilling restores ovulation 80 percent of the time, it is a last resort as it can cause ovarian failure.
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation: A series of FSH injections are administered to promote ovarian follicle growth. While this is generally part of in vitro fertilization, it puts women with PCOS at high risk for complications and occasionally death.
  • Ovarian wedge resection: This antiquated PCOS treatment revolved around removing part of the ovary in the thought that this would reduce the amount of male hormones it produced. While this theory proved mostly incorrect, the procedure is still used in severe cases of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Alternative PCOS Treatment

Aside from taking medications and possibly getting surgery for polycystic ovarian syndrome, doctors also recommend lifestyle changes as alternative PCOS treatment. The two most important changes that patients should consider are:

  • Adopting a low carbohydrate diet (to reduce insulin levels)
  • Exercising regularly.

Each of these helps keep down weight, as well as promote normal thyroid activity. Talk to your doctor for more information.

Resources

Fertility Journey Staff. (n.d.). Ovarian wedge resection. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from the Fertility Journey.com Web site: http://www.fertilityjourney.com/therapyOptions/surgery/ovarianWedgeResection/index.asp.

Georgia Reproductive Specialists Staff. (n.d.). Ovarian drilling. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from the IVF.com Web site: http://www.ivf.com/drilling.html.

Georgia Reproductive Specialists Staff. (n.d.). Treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome with insulin lowering medications. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from the IVF.com Web site: http://www.ivf.com/pcostreat.html.