Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormone disorder that causes numerous symptoms, including infertility. Hormonal birth control that contains both estrogen and progestin can help rebalance the hormones, alleviating many of the symptoms.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects . The endocrine system consists of glands that secrete and regulate hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen.

Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance that causes unusually high levels of male sex hormones. This imbalance changes the way the ovaries function and can cause them to develop many small cysts.

Women with PCOS may also not ovulate or do so infrequently. PCOS is a .

Fast facts on PCOS and birth control:

  • Doctors do not yet have a cure for PCOS.
  • A widely used treatment for PCOS is combination birth control.
  • The symptoms of PCOS vary from woman-to-woman.
  • Birth control pills help regulate a woman's menstrual period, making it more predictable.

various birth control pills
Hormonal birth control pills are safe but they may present some risks.

Some of the of PCOS include:

Symptoms vary and may be mild or so severe that they disrupt a woman's life.

With treatment, and may disappear.

Hormonal birth control is considered to be combination birth control when it contains two hormones. These hormones are usually estrogen, and a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin.

These combination pills can also regulate some hormonal imbalances, by increasing a woman's estrogen levels and decreasing the amount of testosterone her body produces.

Due to combination birth control pills containing two hormones that can adjust hormone issues, they are the preferred choice for many prescribing doctors.

However, not all women can safely take combination pills. Hormonal birth control pills are safe, but they do present some risks :

  • A greater risk of diabetes: This is a consideration for women who are already at risk for diabetes.
  • A risk of cardiovascular issues: Including dangerous blood clots in the legs. Women with PCOS who are obese may have an elevated risk. If they smoke, the risk rises.
  • Weight gain: Some evidence suggests that birth control pills can cause weight gain, but other studies disagree. Women who are already obese may be reluctant to take birth control pills. Weight gain can make the symptoms of PCOS worse.

For some women, a pill known as the minipill may be a better choice. Minipills contain just one hormone, progestin. They are less likely to cause side effects than combination pills. However, when they do cause side effects, these can be the same.

Combination birth control pills . They prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg and so prevent pregnancy. They also thicken the mucus of the cervix. If the ovaries were to release an egg, this thickened mucus could prevent pregnancy.

The same hormones that prevent ovulation can also keep male hormone levels low and raise female hormone levels. Combination pills for PCOS include:

The hormones that prevent ovulation in combination birth control pills, may also raise female hormone levels.

Some pills, such as Loestrin, have lower estrogen levels. These low estrogen levels can reduce the severity of some side effects but may also be less effective against symptoms of PCOS.

Someone with PCOS should talk to a doctor about the right amount of estrogen based on their symptoms and other risk factors.

Pills for painful periods

Women who get some relief from combination pills but who continue to experience painful or heavy periods may wish to switch to a pill that causes them to be less frequent.

The following pills can make a woman have less frequent periods:


Women who develop unpleasant side effects from taking a combination pill may wish to switch to a minipill. In some cases, doctors recommend that women try a minipill first.

Women who smoke, who have a history of cardiovascular problems, who are very overweight, or who are diabetic may have fewer side effects with a progestin-only pill.

Combination and progestin-only pills are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. At typical usage rates, which are the imperfect way most women use these pills, they are about .

A non-pill alternative to birth control may be an intrauterine device (IUD).

Birth control pills are not for everyone, as some women find it inconvenient to take a pill every day. Non-pill combination options that blend progestin with estrogen tend to be the most effective. Progestin-only options may pose fewer risks and side effects.

The to birth control for PCOS include:

Non-hormonal birth control options, such as condoms, natural family planning, or diaphragms, will not help with symptoms of PCOS. Also, women who want to become pregnant must try another type of treatment.