Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) cause a wide range of health problems, among them infertility, but also irregular menstrual cycles, obesity, diabetes and depression. A review of medical literature, however, has found that women with PCOS can manage some of these symptoms by changes in lifestyle combined with taking the drug metformin.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update, involved 608 participants aged 12–39 across nine studies. They were given dietary behavior education and access to fitness centers alone or with placebo, and compared to those given metformin hydrochloride with a change in lifestyle.
When lifestyle changes were combined with metformin, which has long been used to treat diabetes by controlling blood sugar and helping with weight management, subjects lost more weight, had a lower body mass index (BMI) and showed improved menstruation.
“The key take-home messages are that while lifestyle management is the first and most important step in the management of PCOS, the addition of metformin to lifestyle modification appears to provide additional advantages in improving BMI and menstrual cyclicity in the medium term,” the authors state.