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Do I Need Birth Control if I Have PCOS?

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Updated May 07, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

One of the most common traits of women with PCOS is anovulation or oligoovulation, which means infrequent or absent ovulation. Without ovulation, pregnancy can’t occur. This is why so many women with PCOS have difficulty becoming pregnant on their own and often require medical intervention. It can seem that because of this link between PCOS and infertility, regular use of birth control with PCOS isn’t necessary.

However, it is extremely important to know that ovulation can be erratic and unpredictable. This means that unless you are ready for a pregnancy, you should be using birth control every time you have intercourse.

The birth control pill is often prescribed for women with PCOS to help regulate their cycles and reduce their risk of endometrial cancer. This may be a great option for you if pregnancy is not in your immediate plan, but you should speak with your doctor to see if the pill is appropriate for you.

Finally, you should always use a barrier form of birth control (like the condom) to reduce your risk for sexually transmitted infections. Speak with your doctor or nurse to discuss your options, or check out About.com’s contraception site for more information.

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