There is no known way to prevent polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Researchers are still working to understand the underlying causes. However, there are steps you can take to prevent some of the worst consequences of the disorder — diabetes, uterine cancer, high blood pressure and high levels of blood lipids (a risk factor for heart disease).

If you do not menstruate, inducing menstruation should be a top priority. During menstruation, the endometrial lining is shed in response to the progestogen hormone. Without this shedding, your risk of uterine cancer rises significantly. Birth control pills, which combine estrogen and progestin, can restore regular periods. If you don’t want to take a daily medication, a course of a progestogen may be prescribed about four times a year.

If you are overweight, losing weight is a big step toward lowering your risk for diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight can help restore regular periods and improve other hormonal imbalances, but weight loss is often an incomplete solution to PCOS.

Research and New Treatments on the Horizon

Clinical trials are currently underway to identify the gene or genes that predispose individuals to PCOS. The discovery of a PCOS gene(s) will increase knowledge about this condition and potentially lead to better diagnostic testing and treatment.

Copyright 2003

National Women's Health Resource Center Inc. (NWHRC).