Best Birth Control for PCOS – Which Is Right Option?

Best Birth Control for PCOS - Which Is Right Option?

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Dealing with PCOS can be challenging, but choosing the right birth control can significantly improve your quality of life. Whether you are seeking relief from PCOS symptoms or simply looking for effective contraception, it is essential to find the best birth control for PCOS that aligns with your health goals and lifestyle.

In this article, we will delve into a range of birth control options, exploring their benefits and potential side effects. Our aim is to provide you with accurate information that empowers you to make an informed decision about your reproductive health.

Understanding PCOS and Its Impact on Birth Control Choices

PCOS is characterized by hormonal imbalances, specifically elevated levels of androgens (male hormones). These hormonal fluctuations can cause a range of symptoms and disrupt the regularity of menstrual cycles. When choosing birth control for PCOS, it is crucial to consider its potential impact on hormone levels and how it may alleviate or exacerbate PCOS symptoms.

How Can I Determine the Best Birth Control for PCOS?

To determine the best birth control option for PCOS, it is crucial to work closely with a healthcare provider who specializes in reproductive health and PCOS. Discuss your specific PCOS symptoms and concerns openly with them. Explore both hormonal and non-hormonal birth control options available.

Review any existing medical conditions you may have, as certain birth control methods may be more suitable or safer based on your health status. Assess the cost and accessibility of each option.

Do not hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification from your healthcare provider to make an informed decision that aligns with your individual needs and preferences.

Hormonal Birth Control Options for PCOS

1. Combination Oral Contraceptives

Combination oral contraceptives are commonly known as “the pill,”. It contains synthetic versions of both estrogen and progestin. They work together to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce androgen levels, and manage PCOS symptoms. The combined pill is highly effective in preventing pregnancy and can help improve the regularity of menstrual cycles.


  • Regulates menstrual cycles and reduces androgen levels.
  • Improves acne and hirsutism (excess hair growth).
  • Provides reliable contraception.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Nausea, breast tenderness, or headaches (usually mild and temporary).
  • May not be suitable for individuals with a history of blood clots.

2. Progestin-Only Pills

Progestin-only pills are also known as mini-pills. They are an alternative to combination pills for individuals who cannot tolerate estrogen. They are generally well-suited for those with PCOS as they do not contain estrogen, which can sometimes worsen certain PCOS symptoms. Progestin-only pills may be particularly suitable for breastfeeding individuals or those with a history of blood clots.


  • Provides a hormone-based contraceptive option without estrogen.
  • Reduces the risk of estrogen-related side effects.
  • Suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Irregular bleeding during the initial months of use.
  • Breast tenderness or changes in menstrual patterns (usually mild and temporary).

3. Hormonal Injections

Hormonal injections, such as Depo-Provera, offer long-lasting contraception, usually administered every three months. While they can be effective for some individuals with PCOS, it is essential to discuss potential side effects with a healthcare professional. Some individuals may experience changes in menstrual patterns or weight gain while using hormonal injections.


  • Provides highly effective, long-term contraception.
  • Eliminates the need for daily pill administration.
  • Suitable for individuals who prefer less frequent birth control methods.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting between periods.
  • Weight gain, which can be managed with a healthy lifestyle.

4. Hormonal Implants

Hormonal implants, such as Nexplanon, are small, flexible rods inserted under the skin to release progestin gradually. They offer an excellent option for long-term birth control and may benefit individuals with PCOS by regulating periods and reducing androgen levels. Hormonal implants are highly effective and can last for several years, offering convenience to those who prefer not to take daily birth control pills.


  • Provides long-term, reversible contraception.
  • Effective for up to three years.
  • May help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce PCOS-related symptoms.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting.
  • Potential weight gain, acne, or breast tenderness (usually temporary).

5. Hormonal Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

Hormonal IUDs, such as Mirena or Skyla, release progestin locally into the uterus, offering effective contraception and often leading to lighter periods. These IUDs can be beneficial for individuals with PCOS seeking symptom relief. Additionally, hormonal IUDs may reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia, a condition associated with PCOS.


  • Provides highly effective, long-term contraception.
  • Reduces menstrual bleeding and cramping.
  • Helps manage PCOS symptoms.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting, especially during the initial months.
  • May cause hormonal changes and related side effects.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options for PCOS

1. Copper IUD

The copper IUD, like Paragard, is a non-hormonal birth control method that does not impact hormone levels. It can be a suitable option for individuals with PCOS who prefer to avoid hormonal contraceptives. Copper IUDs provide long-term contraception and can last for up to ten years.


  • Non-hormonal option for contraception.
  • Provides long-term, reversible protection.
  • No impact on hormonal balance.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Increased menstrual bleeding or cramping.
  • May not be suitable for individuals with copper allergies.

2. Barrier Methods: Condoms and Diaphragms

Barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms offer non-hormonal contraception, providing protection against pregnancy without interfering with hormonal balance. These methods are readily available, affordable, and have no impact on the body’s natural hormones.


  • Non-hormonal option for contraception.
  • Easily accessible and widely available.
  • Provides protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Potential Side Effects:

  • Allergic reactions to latex condoms (for individuals with latex allergies).
  • Diaphragms require proper fitting and insertion.

3. Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Natural Family Planning (NFP) involves tracking menstrual cycles and fertility signs to determine the fertile window. While it requires diligence and awareness, it can be an effective non-hormonal birth control option for some individuals with PCOS. NFP can also be used as a complementary method alongside other contraceptive measures.


  • Non-hormonal option for contraception.
  • Empowers individuals with knowledge of their menstrual cycles.
  • Can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Requires strict adherence to tracking and monitoring fertility signs.
  • May not be as reliable as other contraceptive methods when not followed precisely.

Exploring Lifestyle Changes to Complement Birth Control

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet can positively impact PCOS symptoms and enhance the effectiveness of certain birth control methods. Weight management is crucial for individuals with PCOS as excess weight can exacerbate hormone imbalances and lead to more severe symptoms.

Nutritional Choices

Certain dietary changes, such as adopting a low-glycemic index diet, may help manage insulin resistance associated with PCOS and complement the effects of birth control. A balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can support overall health and hormone regulation.

Stress Management

Practicing stress-reduction techniques, like yoga or meditation, can support overall well-being and potentially alleviate PCOS symptoms. Chronic stress can exacerbate hormonal imbalances, so finding healthy ways to cope with stress is essential for individuals with PCOS.


Finding the best birth control for PCOS is a personal decision that should consider your health, lifestyle, and reproductive goals. With a wide range of options available, from hormonal to non-hormonal methods, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable choice for you.

Remember, managing PCOS and contraception effectively can lead to a more balanced and empowered life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Safe to Use Hormonal Birth Control with PCOS?

Yes, hormonal birth control can be safe for individuals with PCOS. However, it is crucial to discuss your medical history with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable option based on your specific needs.

Can Birth Control Pills Help Regulate My Periods?

Yes, combination birth control pills can help regulate irregular periods in individuals with PCOS by establishing a predictable hormonal pattern. They can also reduce the frequency of menstrual cycles and alleviate heavy bleeding.

Are There Any Side Effects of Progestin-Only Pills for PCOS?

While progestin-only pills generally have fewer side effects than combination pills, some individuals may experience changes in menstrual patterns or breast tenderness.

Can I Use Natural Family Planning (NFP) if I Have PCOS?

Yes, NFP can be used with PCOS, but it may require additional tracking and observation due to potential irregularities in menstrual cycles. It is essential to work closely with a qualified healthcare provider when using NFP as a birth control method.

Will a Copper IUD Worsen PCOS Symptoms?

No, the copper IUD is a non-hormonal birth control method and should not worsen PCOS symptoms. In fact, it can be an excellent option for individuals who cannot or prefer not to use hormonal contraceptives.

Can I Get Pregnant Immediately After Stopping Birth Control for PCOS?

The ability to conceive after stopping birth control for PCOS varies from person to person. Some individuals may resume ovulation and become pregnant shortly after discontinuing hormonal contraceptives, while others may experience delays in regaining their fertility.

Can Birth Control for PCOS Affect My Fertility in the Long Run?

In general, birth control for PCOS does not have a negative impact on long-term fertility. In fact, some forms of birth control, such as combination oral contraceptives, can help regulate menstrual cycles and potentially improve fertility in the future.

If you found this article on the best birth control for PCOS helpful, share it with friends and family who might find it helpful.

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