Birth Control Options For PCOS
PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is characterized by the formation of cysts, smaller in size, along the outer side of ovaries. According to latest statistics, the prevalence of PCOS has increased significantly in the recent years and every 1 of 10 women are believed to be suffering from the PCOS.
In order to alleviate the symptoms associated with PCOS, women often opt for hormonal type birth control. PCOS can severely disrupt the menstrual cycle in some women; luckily this can be managed with the use of adequate birth control options. Birth control can also help relieve the following symptoms:
- Minimal or no ovulation
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Excessive growth of hair
- Pain in the pelvis
- Disturbances in the hormonal levels
Helpful Birth Control Options For PCOS
Given below are the types of birth control strategies to help combat the symptoms of PCOS:
- Oral contraceptives: Oral contraceptives are very helpful in the treatment of PCOS and are of two types:
- Progestin-only-pills (which only contain synthetic progestin)
- Combination pills (which contain synthetic progestin and estrogen)
Oral contraceptives can also help in minimizing the risk of developing ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. The pills however may cause some of the following side effects:
- Skin patch: The patch contains progestin and estrogen and is to be worn for 21 days straight followed by its removal to facilitate 7 days of periods after which a new patch should be worn. The patch is really helpful for alleviating PCOS symptoms but it may bring about mild side effects:
- Mood swings
- Skin irritation
- Increase in the blood pressure
- Vaginal ring: It is a flexible, soft plastic ring which is inserted into the vagina. The ring is worn for 21 days and removed during the 7 days of periods after which a new ring should be worn. Its side effects include:
- Alteration in the appetite
How Effective Are Birth Control Strategies Against PCOS?
Combination of the above birth control strategies is usually considered to be very helpful in the treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome). However, some alternative approaches can also be considered such as:
- Progesterone therapy: It helps in the symptomatic management of PCOS and includes a 10 – 14 days progesterone therapy every 1-2 months.
- Progestin containing IUD (intrauterine device): The device contains progestin which assists in symptomatic treatment of PCOS.
- Metformin: It is a medicine prescribed to type 2 diabetic patients to reduce insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is common in PCOS and hence the use of metformin can assist in this regard. This is however totally an off-label indication of the drug.
The option that’s most suitable with minimal side effects and is least expensive should always be the first priority. It is essential to consider the convenience and compliance among other parameters. On the other hand, side effects should also not be overlooked. It is better to consult a doctor prior to jumping towards a definite conclusion.
1. Al-Zubeidi, H., & Klein, K. O. (2015). Randomized clinical trial evaluating metformin versus oral contraceptive pills in the treatment of adolescents with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, 28(7-8), 853-858.
2. Suvarna, Y., Maity, N., Kalra, P., & Shivamurthy, M. C. (2016). Comparison of efficacy of metformin and oral contraceptive combination of ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone in polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of the Turkish German Gynecological Association, 17(1), 6.