If You Have PCOS, This Birth Control Can Help

Polycystic ovary syndrome—aka PCOS— is the most common endocrine disorder, but we still don't fully understand why it happens. It predominantly affects women of reproductive age, and it manifests in the form of chronic inflammation, irregular menstrual cycles, weight issues, fertility problems, acne, and excess facial and body hair.

Ob-gyn Felice Gersh, founder/director of the Integrative Medical Practice of Irvine and author of PCOS SOS! A Gynecologist's Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness (out this fall), says that PCOS is a normal variation of women that's been exacerbated by the endocrine disruptors we're exposed to on a daily basis. Back in ancient times, she says, slightly elevated levels of testosterone would have been a survival mechanism. But now, women who have this underlying tendency find that it manifests in much more severe ways because of our environment.

That's what makes choosing a birth control when you have PCOS complicated. You're dealing with a hormonal system that is irregular. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to the best birth control for PCOS, but there are some general guidelines you can use so that when you visit your ob-gyn you're armed with knowledge.