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Can valproic acid for bipolar disorder cause PCOS?

An anticonvulsant, valproic acid may increase levels of the male hormone testosterone in young women under 20. Increased testosterone can lead to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women. Because PCOS causes a woman's eggs to turn into cysts (fluid filled sacks), infertility can result. Unlike the process in a woman without PCOS, eggs are not released monthly, but remain in the ovaries.

When doctors and families determine that valproic acid is the best medication for the individual, the doctor will monitor the ovaries for the onset of PCOS. If indeed PCOS does result, the doctor will most likely stop treatment with valproic acid. Most PCOS symptoms improve and/or disappear after stopping valproic acid use.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.