Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Treatment

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that affects females. Young people with PCOS have higher levels of androgens (male hormones) than usual. They may have irregular periods, unwanted facial hair, severe acne or trouble controlling their weight.

PCOS Treatment for Adolescents

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, our specialists provide comprehensive adolescent PCOS treatment. No treatment plan is one-size-fits-all, so we use a personalized care approach.

Your child’s treatment plan may involve:

Diet and exercise changes

Young people with PCOS may have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. For some, losing weight can help manage health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and prediabetes that often exist alongside PCOS.

Teenagers can work with a dietitian, physical therapist or both to create a nutrition and exercise plan. Diet and exercise changes might include:

  • Choosing more nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Limiting sugary drinks and high-calorie desserts.
  • Participating in aerobic activities such as bicycling, jogging or dancing. 

Medications to control symptoms

Some medications can decrease uncomfortable PCOS symptoms. For example, teenagers may take medicines that:

  • Block the effect of testosterone on hair follicles or sebaceous glands that lead to acne.
  • Help the body more effectively process insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar).

These medicines might clear up acne or decrease excessive hair growth. They might lower insulin or better control androgen levels. Often, specialists recommend using these medications along with diet and exercise changes.

Oral contraceptives

Doctors may recommend birth control pills that contain the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because people with PCOS have excessive androgens, taking estrogen and progesterone can help balance hormone levels. Birth control may:

  • Clear acne
  • Decrease unwanted hair growth
  • Regulate the menstrual cycle

Birth control pills can be effective, but they are not right for everyone. Your child’s doctor works with you to find the treatment plan that is best for your teen.

Collaborative PCOS Treatment for Teenagers

Our specialists also collaborate with specialists in the Healthy Weight Clinic to create personalized nutrition or exercise plans. This collaboration may be especially useful if you don’t want to use oral contraceptives as a PCOS treatment and have concerns regarding weight and insulin.

CHLA clinicians work with every family to find the appropriate treatment option. Our Adolescent PCOS Clinic is the largest program of its kind in the Western United States. We provide comprehensive care that includes medical treatment as well as psychological support. Learn more about the Adolescent Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Clinic.