Many women with PCOS are often prescribed oral contraceptives to help regulate an irregular or absent menstrual cycle.
However, this merely regulates the period artificially, without changing the underlying problem causing PCOS, namely Insulin Resistance. When the contraceptives are discontinued, the PCOS symptoms will persist.
In addition, a new study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility showed that birth control pills may exacerbate Insulin Resistance.
The study examined 36 adolescent girls with PCOS. Half the group took an oral contraceptive containing synthetic progesterone and the other half took a birth control pill with an anti-androgenic (a substance that suppresses the male hormone testosterone).
Both groups showed an increase in Insulin Resistance. Furthermore, the group taking the oral contraceptive containing the anti-androgenic showed an increase in both insulin secretion and blood levels of insulin.
With Insulin Resistance being the root cause of PCOS, women must think twice before considering the use of birth control pills to control irregular or absent menses. Not only do oral contraceptives not address the cause of PCOS but they actually may worsen the problem with Insulin Resistance.
It is important to remember that PCOS is a complex syndrome that requires a multi-faceted approach. There isn’t a single pill out there that will cure PCOS. Women with PCOS need to address Insulin Resistance through lifestyle changes like improved diet and a regular exercise regime.