Lifestyle changes can help
That’s a lot of bad news, isn’t it? But the good news is that there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of these complications. “We know that some people can see symptoms get better with lifestyle changes,” Dr. Shahine says. Some research has shown that simply losing weight may help get hormones back on track and resume menstrual cycles. Although you might think menopause would be the solution to many symptoms, that’s not necessarily the case—hair growth and other issues relating to androgens may continue, and the risk of complications like heart disease and diabetes only gets greater with age. For women of reproductive age, the pill can help regulate hormones and decrease the risk of cancer from endometrial hyperplasia, and other medications can also help regulate insulin. But the best course of action is to maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, exercise, eat well, and get a good night’s sleep.
It doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant
Women often find out they have polycystic ovary syndrome when they’re trying to conceive—but the diagnosis doesn’t mean they can’t get pregnant, says Dr. Gray. In fact, this condition is usually one of the more simple for fertility doctors to treat because of medications that can control hormones and make the body ovulate. Although medications to regulate insulin is traditionally a first-line approach for treating infertility from polycystic ovary syndrome, Dr. Shahine says a better bet may be to skip ahead to the fertility drugs. “A relatively recent study showed that women who want to conceive do best with ovulation induction medication like Clomiphene (Clomid) or Letrozole (Femara) at the start instead of wasting time trying to see if Metformin [an insulin medication] regulates the cycles alone,” she says. Every couple should know these silent signs of infertility.