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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age.

You may have PCOS if you have 2 or more of these symptoms:

  • Abnormal periods
  • Weight gain
  • Infertility
  • Acne
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Insulin resistance
  • Scalp hair loss

Diagnosing PCOS

No single test can diagnose PCOS. Your provider will diagnose you based on your symptoms, past medical history, and family history, and they may advise you to complete optional blood tests to rule out other health conditions.

How We Order Lab Tests
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Lab tests are optional and can be completed at a lab of your choice. You may use insurance or pay out-of-pocket for the lab tests.

  • Thyroid stimulating hormone and reflex free T4
  • Follicular stimulating hormone
  • Estradiol
  • Prolactin
  • Sex hormone-binding globulin
  • Total testosterone
  • 17-hydroxyprogesterone
  • A1c level
Getting Your Lab Results
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Your Alpha Provider will contact you to discuss the results of your blood tests and next steps.

Do I need a lab test?
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Lab tests are optional to help rule out other health conditions. If you have symptoms of PCOS, we can treat you without requiring lab tests. Common symptoms we can help with include weight gain, abnormal periods, infertility, acne, excessive hair growth, insulin resistance, and male-pattern baldness.

Treatment & Pricing

There is no cure for PCOS and treatment is based on symptoms. Treatment may require a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.

Hormonal Contraceptives

Birth control can help regulate the menstrual cycle and treat other symptoms like excess hair growth and acne. Hormonal birth control decreases the risk of endometrial cancer and a combination estrogen and progestin birth control can help to restore normal hormone balance.

Birth Control Pill
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The pill is a hormone medication that you take daily. The combination pill contains both estrogen and progestin and requires a blood pressure reading. The mini pill contains progestin only and doesn't require a blood pressure reading.

See all the brands we carry

  • Sprintec
Birth Control Patch
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The contraceptive skin patch is a small (1.75 square inch), thin, adhesive patch that you place on your skin every month. It is removed every 3 or 4 weeks. The patch releases both estrogen and progestin, which are absorbed through the skin into the body.

  • Xulane
Birth Control Ring
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The vaginal ring is a flexible, plastic ring that is placed in the upper vagina. It releases estrogen and progestin that are absorbed through the vaginal tissues into the body. It is removed every 3 or 4 weeks.

  • Nuvaring
Birth Control Shot
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Depo-subQ Provera 104 is a shot (injection) that helps relieve endometriosis related pain. It contains a hormone called medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). The shot is given once every 3 months, just under the skin on your thigh or belly, and can be self-administered.

  • Depo-SubQ Provera 104

Scalp Hair Loss Treatment

Prescription medication, separate from birth control, can help treat scalp hair loss.

Hair Loss Treatments
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  • Spironolactone
Topical Medication
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  • Minoxidil

Weight Loss Treatment

Prescription medication can help with weight loss, ovulatory dysfunction, infertility, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

Oral Medication
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  • Metformin (tablet)
  • Metformin ER (tablet; extended release)

Think you may have PCOS? Prescription medication can help with your symptoms.

Get Treated

Are you looking to lose weight?

Losing weight is the most important step you can take to help keep PCOS symptoms under control. A 5-10% loss in body weight can help to better regulate your menstrual cycle, improve ovulation, and decrease hirsutism. You may want to consider prescription weight loss medication or working with a registered dietitian.

Learn More
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Top Questions

Learn more about PCOS to determine if you may have it.

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  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) refers to cysts (sacs of fluid) that fail to regularly release eggs. Not all women who have PCOS have polycystic ovaries, and not all women with cysts have PCOS. It is an overall hormonal and metabolic issue that has less to do with cysts and more to do with the female hormonal systems. Women with PCOS often have higher levels of androgen (male hormones).
What causes PCOS?
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  • The cause of PCOS is unknown, but studies have shown that it is in some part determined by genes, especially those that affect hormone levels and insulin resistance. A wide variety of other factors such as stress and diet can also contribute to PCOS.
What are some common symptoms of PCOS?
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  • Irregular periods - The most common sign of PCOS is menstrual period problems. Many women will have irregular periods or infrequent periods. Women with PCOS typically have fewer than six to eight cycles in a year.
  • Difficulty getting pregnant or infertility - If you are not ovulating regularly, then your chance of getting pregnant is lower.
  • Excessive hair growth - Up to 70% of women with PCOS experience hirsutism, or excessive hair growth on the face, chin, back, belly, and other places that men typically grow hair.
  • Hair loss - Women with PCOS may experience hair loss or thinning hair on the scalp, similar to male-pattern baldness. This is attributed to high androgen levels.
  • Acne - High levels of androgens due to PCOS may cause oily skin, leading to breakouts of acne on the face, chest and back for women post-puberty.
  • Weight gain – More than half of women with PCOS struggle with weight gain and losing weight.
  • Other skin changes - High insulin levels and insulin resistance can lead to thicker and darker patches of skin around the neck, groin, and other skin creases. Skin tags (small excess flaps of skin), often on the neck or armpits, can also be a sign of insulin resistance.

How it works

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Describe Your Symptoms

Answer questions about your health condition online.

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Connect with a Medical Provider

A medical provider will review your responses and send an appropriate treatment plan. Your care is evidence-based and personalized at every visit.

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Get Whole-person Care

Your care team will respond to any questions through our secure messaging platform and you can get medication at your preferred pharmacy.

Are you experiencing heavy or irregular bleeding, but no other symptoms?

If you’re noticing any spotting, heavy bleeding, or an irregular period, treatment is available.

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