Managing PCOS: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Doctor holding Uterus and Ovaries model. Ovarian and Cervical cancer, Cervix disorder, Endometriosis, Hysterectomy, Uterine fibroids, Reproductive system and Pregnancy concept Jun,27,2024

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common health condition affecting many women of reproductive age. Despite its prevalence, it often goes undiagnosed or misunderstood. As a women’s healthcare provider in the Los Angeles area, we aim to provide comprehensive information about PCOS, including its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options, to help you manage this condition effectively.

Understanding PCOS

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a hormonal disorder characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen levels, and polycystic ovaries. It is one of the most common causes of female infertility. Despite its name, not all women with PCOS have cysts on their ovaries, which contributes to the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding this condition.

Symptoms of PCOS

PCOS symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles: Women with PCOS may experience infrequent, irregular, or prolonged menstrual periods.
  • Excess Androgen Levels: Elevated levels of male hormones can lead to physical signs such as hirsutism (excessive hair growth on the face and body), severe acne, and male-pattern baldness.
  • Polycystic Ovaries: Ovaries might be enlarged and contain numerous small cysts.
  • Other Symptoms: These can include weight gain or difficulty losing weight, skin issues like dark patches or skin tags, insulin resistance (which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes), and mood changes or mental health issues.

Diagnosing PCOS

Diagnosing PCOS involves several steps:

  • Medical History and Symptom Discussion: Your healthcare provider will discuss your symptoms and medical history.
  • Physical Examination: This may include a check for signs of excess hair growth, insulin resistance, and acne.
  • Diagnostic Tests: Blood tests to measure hormone levels, glucose, and lipid profiles, and a pelvic ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts.
  • Diagnostic Criteria: The Rotterdam criteria, which require at least two of the following three features: irregular periods, excess androgens, and polycystic ovaries.

Treatment Options for PCOS

Lifestyle Changes

  • Diet and Nutrition: A balanced diet can help manage symptoms. Focus on whole foods, plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Exercise and Physical Activity: Regular exercise can help control weight, regulate insulin levels, and improve overall health.
  • Weight Management: Losing weight can help reduce symptoms and improve the effectiveness of medications.


  • Hormonal Contraceptives: Birth control pills can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce androgen levels.
  • Anti-Androgen Medications: These can help reduce hair growth and acne.
  • Metformin: Often used to treat insulin resistance and can help with weight management and menstrual regularity.
  • Fertility Medications: For those who wish to become pregnant, medications to stimulate ovulation may be prescribed.

Other Treatments

  • Hair Removal Treatments: Options include electrolysis and laser hair removal.
  • Acne Treatments: Topical creams and oral medications can help manage severe acne.

Integrative and Alternative Therapies for PCOS

  • Acupuncture: Some studies suggest it may help with menstrual regularity.
  • Herbal Supplements: Certain supplements might help manage symptoms, though it’s important to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.
  • Stress Management Techniques: Yoga, meditation, and other stress-reducing practices can be beneficial.

Managing PCOS Long-term

  • Regular Monitoring and Follow-Up: Continuous care with your healthcare provider is crucial for managing PCOS effectively.
  • Support System: Joining support groups or seeking counseling can provide emotional support.
  • Mental Health Considerations: Addressing anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues is an important part of managing PCOS.
  • Ongoing Research: Stay informed about new advancements in PCOS research and management.

PCOS is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive approach to manage effectively. By understanding the symptoms, seeking proper diagnosis, and exploring various treatment options, women with PCOS can lead healthy and fulfilling lives. At our Women’s Healthcare clinic in Los Angeles, we are committed to providing the support and resources you need to manage PCOS.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please visit our website or contact CCCHC directly. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more health-related content and updates on managing PCOS and other conditions.


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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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