Conventional Medical Therapies for PCOS and Infertility

PCOS and infertility may be treated with a variety of medications and surgical therapies, depending on your symptoms.  Each therapy has its unique advantages and disadvantages.

As a first-line treatment, your doctor is likely to prescribe birth control pills or metformin (Glucophage).

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Conventional medical and pharmaceutical therapies are listed below.

(If you are interested in alternative solutions, please visit our Natural Therapies for PCOS and Infertility page.)

3 Doctors Talk about Diagnosis and Medical Treatment

Steroid hormones

It is commonly believed that symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome are caused mainly by an imbalance of multiple hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, insulin, leptin, prolactin, cortisol and others.

More Hormone Information

Since a major component of PCOS is a set of multiple hormonal imbalances, it's a good idea to better understand more about hormones.


One of the most troubling hormones for this disorder is the excessive levels of testosterone.  There are a number of pharmaceuticals used to reduce the impact of testosterone and its metabolites.

  • Spironolactone (Aldactone)
  • Cyproterone acetate
  • Flutamide (Eulexin)
  • Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar)

Anti-Obesity Drugs

The inability to lose excess weight is among the most challenging aspects of this disease.  Most weight loss pills have a limited effect.  So don't expect too much from them.

  • Orlistat (Xenical)
  • Sibutramine (Meridia)

Insulin-Altering drugs

Many researchers believe that insulin dysfunction is the #1 driver of polycystic ovarian syndrome.  This is why insulin-altering pharmaceuticals like metformin are commonly prescribed.

Fertility Agents

Lots of women are frustrated by their inability to become pregnant.  Various drugs are employed to force a change in hormones that will induce ovulation and help you become pregnant.  These medications don't always work and can have side effects if used repeatedly.

Immune Modulating Agents

Prolactin Inhibiting Agents

The hormone prolactin can be too high in a small subset of women.  Pharmaceuticals to suppress prolactin production are not commonly used for this polycystic disorder and can have major side effects.  Vitex is an herbal extract that could help to relieve this problem.

  • Bromocriptine
  • Cabergoline

PCOS Surgery Options

If pharmaceuticals don't work or if there is some compelling reason to remove portions of or an entire organ, surgery is an option.   Be sure you understand both the benefits and risks.  Surgery is not reversible.

Assisted Reproduction and Pregnancy

The track record of IVF and other assisted reproduction methods to induce pregnancy in women with polycystic ovary syndrome is mixed.

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