Medication for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Adolescents

At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, endocrinologists, doctors who specialize in treating hormone disorders, prescribe medications for adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These medications can help regulate menstrual periods and control emotionally distressing signs and symptoms, such as acne, excessive facial and body hair, and thinning scalp hair. Starting treatment early can help prevent long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

Our endocrinologists work with your daughter’s pediatrician to monitor the effectiveness of these medications and adjust the dosages as your child grows or loses weight.

Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, help regulate menstrual cycles. They can also provide a counterbalance to high androgen levels, helping to control symptoms such as acne and unwanted facial and body hair. Combination birth control pills are generally safe for women younger than age 35 who do not smoke or have a blood-clotting disorder.

Your child’s doctor may prescribe progesterone-only “mini pills” if your daughter has a condition such as sickle cell disease or epilepsy, which may be worsened by estrogen.


Antiandrogen medications, such as spironolactone, may be prescribed to block the body’s production of androgens. These medications are effective in reducing androgen-related symptoms, such as acne and excessive facial or body hair. However, because they can contribute to irregular menstrual periods, they are often prescribed in combination with birth control pills.

Insulin-Lowering Medication

Doctors often prescribe metformin to lower insulin levels, which may decrease the body’s production of androgens and help regulate menstruation cycles. This medication can also reduce signs and symptoms such as weight gain and unwanted facial and body hair.

Resources for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Adolescents
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