Health & Support
Moderators: tigermoth5, autopilotfrank193, nycgirl, bierorama, ksylvan, peaches0405

PCOS withouth Birth Control

Quote  |  Reply

I was diagnosed with PCOS over 3 years ago. I was told that I would have to be on birth control. Anyhow, since then I finally got over the thought of, "I'll always be fat, I just have to learn how to live with it." And I've lost almost 25 lbs in the last 6.5 months. So now I want to stop taking birth control. What I want is to hear from people who have PCOS and aren't on birth control, and I want to know if exercise and eating better has helped them to control their PCOS. I think that as long as I continue to exercise and watch what I eat, I don't have to take birth control.

Edited Apr 19 2012 19:02 by bierorama
Reason: Set as Sticky 12/2/2010; Removed Sticky 4/19/12
70 Replies (last)

Thank you all for your advice and personal stories. In April I developed an ovarian cyst that was very painful for two months (I went to the ER thinking it might be appendicitis - they told me it was corpus luteum cyst and would resolve in 1-2 weeks). In late May, I went to see my regular obgyn, who put me through an ultrasound, and suggested I wait another few weeks as the pain was already slowly going away. My obgyn suggested I could take birth control pills to help prevent another cyst from developing, but didn't press me at all. I decided to go for it - though I don't love the idea of being on birth control - as I am getting married in Sept and didn't want to take the chance that this could happen again, and I would be in pain for the big day.

I was not diagnosed with PCOS (the ultrasound revealed normal, healthy reproductive organs), but I suspect the GI diet suggested here in this post will help with the weight gain I have experienced since going on birth control a few weeks ago, and may help with cyst production in the future when I go off birth control this fall.  I am glad I found this post.

My endocrinologist just told me to get on BC and lose weight...
Didn't give any advice about other problems - like hairloss & hirsutism
I've already been trying to lose weight for 3 years now (60lbs down) - and I'm hesitant about taking BC
I'd much rather try to control my issues the natural way :/

Well, so far, I've been off of my BC since Nov. 2010 and my body is functioning like it should. I eat better and exercise, and that's all I'm doing. When I got off BC I was at 190, now I'm down to 166. Getting the weight off is the key (in my opinion).

I took both birth control pills and metformin during different periods of my life.  I have not been on any medications for a few years now.  I'm maintaining my weight now and watch my diet.


It can be somewhat difficult at first but you have to watch out for your triggers.  For example a few triggers for me are breads, rice, sugar.  I buy hardly any bread at all now.  If its not in the house I don't eat it.  Rice:  I eat brown rice instead of other rices.  I find it fills me and is good for my condition.  Sugar:  This is the hardest!: I used cane sugar in my coffee and gradually reduced the amount I use.  My goal is to stop drinking coffee to avoid the sugar and caffeine.  

With that said I make most of my meals from scratch with lots of vegetables.  I eat more fruit especially in the a.m., and I drink plenty of water.

Lastly, I exercise 4-5 days a week and keep my calorie intake at 1600 calories.

The thing that keeps me going is not wanting my daughter to suffer the way I have so I use her as a motivator to eat healthier.  Having PCOS is tough but we are tougher!  I had two children after my diagnosis and fluctuated between 108-145 lbs during that time.  I now maintain 110-115 lbs and have been doing it for a while now without medications.

Good Luck!

Exercise can help you with your PCOS problem. Even though it's hard to loose weight it certainly will help you to keep it off and get your periods more frequently.

I used PCOS as an excuse not to even attempt weight loss because it would be in vain. With that said, as long as my calorie deficit is there, the pounds are coming off accordingly. PCOS hasn't been a reason why the weight won't come off. Me not eating right and exercising enough is what kept the weight on. I've got friends with PCOS and when they heard that weight loss would be impossible or difficult, they felt that same sinking feeling that I did, "Why try?", "I'll be like this forever."

With that said, personally, PCOS is not going to be a crutch I use to excuse my unhealthy weight. I am in control of my body, not PCOS. This is my life, and I chose to live it without PCOS controlling it.

I have pcos and a friend of mine had cysts removed about 2 years ago and she uses acupuncture to get her hormones in balance! Thought I'd just add my 2 cents....

HI! I'm so glad I found your post! I have had PCOS since I was 14. I'm 30 now. I guess I really don't have that much to offer except a really awesome website:

There are 5 different types of PCOS. That is why some of us can get pregnant or not, some of us have successful weight loss, or not.

I unfortunately have to be on the BCP until I find another cocktail of somekind that helps me. I have been on the spironalactone. It made my hair fall out in chunks. I have been on metformin, and well, we all know what that's like.

I started out with a weight of 220 (even though I know I have weighed more.) I got down to 160 / 163. I got OFF the BCP. And GAINED 20 pounds in 3 months. I was so heartbroken. I even started my periods on my own again. But the hair came back, the acne came back, I was more aggressive, and in general an emotional roller coaster. You have to find what is right for you. That's my point. So if there is someone else out there who can't figure out what their cocktail is. Definitely have all the tests done. I'm on a very low estrogen pill.  And on it, I definitely feel better. I don't have the cravings, and I don't have a problem in the bedroom. (as much.)

Never the less, I am so glad I found your post. I'm learning more and more everyday.



I put myself on a diabetic diet, and lost 13 pounds in one month without exercise. (This has been some time ago.) I had to stop the diet because it is SO costly.

GoodLuck Soulcyster!



Thank you all so much for your input. I am thankful you all have posted your stories. I just posted a topic about this, I didn't see this post first. I was just told I have PCOS after getting an ultra sound done. My symptoms are that I have sharp pains in what feels like my ovaries and I get a hollowed out punched in the abdomin type feeling. I don't have a heating pad, but I have imagined that would help.

I am on birth control pills, Generess FE, right now. I have been on various pills for around 5 years. I don't like putting foreign medicines in my body, but I have been on them for birth control purposes and for bad periods. My cycle has deffinately lightened up over the past two years (September of 2009 was when I first started really feeling cramps all month long). And the cramps are not so bad, it's the sharp pains I get- but I can live with that.

Many of you have said eating well and exercising have been the key. I do exercise 4-5 days a week with a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio and I rotate on strength training (one day back/biceps, one day chest/triceps, one day legs). And I have lost just 5 pounds in a year of exercising. It's taken me a bit longer to get my eating under control but I have been eating well for around 6 months now, with the help of implementing protein shakes into my diet, and I still have not lost much. I can see a tiny difference in my pants and I know I have gained muscle, but it is still frusterating. I got blood work done and everything came back normal.

I will have to check out that website about the low G/I eating. I went to GNC and asked if they had anything natural to help with weight loss, and the clerk showed me a medicine called ABCUTS Organic- but it just seems like a bunch of really expensive vitamins.

Be careful with protein shakes girlie. Some of them have A LOT of sugar in them. Carbs are your enemy. A low carb (not no carb) diet would benefit you. Like a diabetic diet or the Mediterranean diet, which focuses a lot on good fats , proteins, fish etc. Eggwhites have turned into my best friend. I read something yesterday on here - 50 best and worst foods. Protein bars were on the list of some tricky foods that may NOT be good for you. I think it said something like if it has more than 7 or 8g of sugar, you are basically eating a candy bar. My "pure Protein" bars have 2g I think? You are doing good. Don't beat yourself up to bad. Get a hold on your food, and you will do great! also check out There's tons of info out there. Much love girl!

Original Post by hderby24:

Be careful with protein shakes girlie. Some of them have A LOT of sugar in them. Carbs are your enemy. A low carb (not no carb) diet would benefit you. Like a diabetic diet or the Mediterranean diet, which focuses a lot on good fats , proteins, fish etc. Eggwhites have turned into my best friend. I read something yesterday on here - 50 best and worst foods. Protein bars were on the list of some tricky foods that may NOT be good for you. I think it said something like if it has more than 7 or 8g of sugar, you are basically eating a candy bar. My "pure Protein" bars have 2g I think? You are doing good. Don't beat yourself up to bad. Get a hold on your food, and you will do great! also check out There's tons of info out there. Much love girl!

 Thanks for the advice!  I don't eat a lot of protein bars, and the powder I used has 6 g of carbs per serving and 0 sugars, so I think it is a little better than most. It is called Elite by Dymatize and it has whey and casein protein in it. I checked out that website earlier today but I will go back to it now that I have more time to really read over everything. My doctor didn't really spend much time on it. Something that was concerning to me what the infertility part of PCOS, which no one told me about. As I have never tried to conceive and am not trying to at the time, I wouldn't know if that is something that would effect me, but is it a big part of PCOS?

What they call "male pattern baldness" is a PCOS symptom yes. Not everyone has it. And for some it doesn't seem to matter if you are on  any meds at all. Spironalactone is a testosterone suppressant. The info that comes with it says that it can cause hair loss. Websites like and also say that it does. I go to a fertility doc, he says it doesn't. ???WTH??  But yet my hair didn't kick in with the falling out real good until ISTARTED taking the meds. Sometimes we have to realize that some docs are not looking out for our best interest.  I went to him to get more answers and to check on my fertility. NOT to get pregnant. And as soon as I told him that, the show was over and he didn't have any more bout that.

That reminds me of what my doc said about the patch. I didn't have any PCOS symtoms till I got on the birth control patch. When I got on it I gained 45 pounds in less than a year and suddenly started having messed up periods. Prior to the patch, I never had issues with periods or weight gain. And I had been on regular oral birth control since I was 18, and I got on the patch at 21. But the doctor made sure to say, "the patch didn't cause this." Yeah Right! And then, the whole, "you have to be on birth control to regulate your body." Well, maybe I don't want to put artificial hormones into my body anymore. Then the doc says, "If you don't, you'll end up with ovarian cancer." Been off that stuff since November 2010, and my periods are regular and I'm losing weight. Then of course, I got my yearly done in April with a different doctor. And she's wondering why I'm not on birth control. She asks if I'm trying to get pregnant. Well, my son is almost 3, so it's not like it would be a bad thing. What I'm wondering is why do we have to take birth control? Why is it a fix all? ...the go to drug? Why do we have to put an artificial hormone in our body? It's not good for us, all it does is mess up our bodies. Why does everybody advocate for this drug? It causes countless problems for our bodies to put this stuff into it. I would know, it took my life for a tail spin.  

I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 16 as I hadn't started menstruating. The doctor I saw said that the first thing to try was losing 5% of my body weight as this could be enough to kick start my hormone production again. I've now lost around 10kg (started at 100kg) and I'm as regular as clockwork. Lol. I may have to take some medication to stimulate ovulation when I'm attempting to concieve but other then that I'm medicine free. :D

I've had PCOS since I started menstruating (late, at 14, and I bet that was related too.)  It didn't have a name back then, all they could do was put me on the pill to regulate things (not until I was older though.)  I was not overweight though, I was 5'11" and 140 lbs at the time.  Over the years though, the PCOS has led to weight gain and I am losing now.  Eating low carb does seem to help, I've been doing that for awhile now.  I take glucophage as well.  For me, weight loss will not fix it, but eating low carb might I'm hoping.  I think that glucophage is pretty important though too in preventing diabetes.

I wanted to add too that ovarian cysts may or may not be related to PCOS.  Some with PCOS never have them, I've had them sporadically that I've been aware of, none since my last pregnancy though, which ended 7 years ago.  But I do have acne and irregular/nonexistent cycles when I don't treat the PCOS and I had very bad infertility as well (4 kids now.) 

Quote  |  Reply

It's so important for people with PCOS to do the research, and to get to know everything they can about the condition.  When my doctor told me I had PCOS, the only thing she added was "you can look it up on the web".  I didn't realize then just how important lifestyle choices are to people with the condition due to the complicated interplay between testosterone production and insulin response. I've avoided BCP and any medications, and instead I've changed the way I eat including cutting out added sugar, avoiding white bread/rice, and watching GI values.  Certain supplements have also been clinically shown to reduce symptoms, including d-chiro-inositol, omega-3, vitamin D and calcium.  Strength training is also important (and in difference ways than cardio) because of the way muscle tissue helps to break down glucose.  I used to think about how unfair it was to have to live with this, but then I realized just how many other health issues people deal with that are so much worse.  Living with PCOS does mean some significant lifestyle changes, but it is possible to be healthy and happy!

Thank you all for the feedback on this. I was recently diagnosed with PCOS about a year ago. I had gained a good amount of weight and was already in the process of losing it when I was diagnosed. My doctor had told me I was on the right track with losing the weight. After reading all the feedback on this topic it is making me realize how important it is to educate myself. My biggest concern was actually getting pregnant when the time came. I am currently on BC and have been for years now. I feel like this is the only thing to help me with the pain and to regulate my menstrual cycle. I have started to gain a little of my weight back and have started to work out religiously again. Anymore feedback and pointers are appreciated!

70 Replies (last)