Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Ballentine, Hope

Committee Member/Reader

Simpkins-Spain, Vita Kristina


Background: Polycystic ovarian syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, is a metabolic endocrine disorder that affects many women of childbearing age. Although PCOS is a rather common disease, there is a general lack of knowledge on how to approach treatment for different types of women.

Purpose: The purpose of this literature review is to investigate both nonpharmacological and pharmacological treatment interventions that can be used to manage both the symptoms and underlying conditions associated with PCOS.

Methodology: Twenty articles that contained a mix of clinical trials and randomized control trials were reviewed for the evidence that is included in this literature review. The population of these trials include women of childbearing age that have been diagnosed with PCOS. Results from these articles were categorized as either nonpharmacological or pharmacological interventions. Nonpharmacological interventions included diet options, supplementation, and a three-component lifestyle intervention compared to the previously used two-component lifestyle intervention. Pharmacological interventions included new medications and surgical options.

Results: A wide range of treatment options are available for women facing PCOS. The evidence suggests that the previous use of metformin and oral contraceptives to manage symptoms of PCOS may not be the best treatment option for all patients. Combining metformin with other drugs like exenatide and liraglutide had more profound effects on symptoms as well as treatment of the underlying conditions like insulin resistance that are associated with a PCOS diagnosis. Dietary and lifestyle interventions may allow younger patients to completely avoid pharmacological intervention all together.

Discussion/Conclusion: New data suggests that the original form of PCOS treatment with metformin and oral contraceptives may be outdated, and the medical community must begin to look toward new advancements in the management of symptoms and underlying conditions. Further investigation will need to be conducted within the United States and with larger populations in order to further validate the findings presented in this review. These findings allow nursing professionals to better advocate for patients and indicate a need to view PCOS management in a more holistic and individualized manner.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS, pharmacological, nonpharmacological, metformin, oral contraceptive pills