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Pediatric Endocrinology - Polycystic ovarian syndrome

​​​​​​​​​Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)​ is a common female hormonal imbalance that manifests in multiple ovarian cysts.

Symptoms may include irregular, heavy or completely absent periods, excessive facial or body hair, acne, skin tags (growths from the skin), decreased sex drive and excess male hormones. 

In most cases, an underlying cause of PCOS is resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance is typically caused by obesity. 

Marshfield Clinic has specialists trained in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition in adolescents.

Treatments

Lifestyle changes

In some cases, diet and exercise that leads to weight loss can help support hormonal balance.

Medication

Your doctor may prescribe certain drugs to control the symptoms of PCOS.

  • Metformin, a medication for diabetes, can help control levels of androgen, insulin and blood sugar, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease while regulating the menstrual cycle.
  • Birth control pills can help regulate the menstrual period and reduce symptoms such as excess facial hair and acne.
  • ​ An androgen-lowering medicine, spironolactone, may be used in combination with birth control pills to help further reduce symptoms.​
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