Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder among women who are at their reproductive age within their endocrine system. According to the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, between five and ten percent of women in their childbearing ages of 15 through 44 years of age have PCOS.
If you have PCOS, your ovaries may become enlarged and each ovary may contain follicles (small collections of fluids) or cysts. You might also have irregular periods, thinning scalp hair, acne, and/or extra hair growth on the chin, body, and face.
Diagnosing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
There isn’t any one specific test for diagnosing PCOS. You may be asked some questions by your doctor about your medical symptoms history, such as if you have had any skipped or irregular periods, hair or weight changes, and acne. You will likely be asked about your family medical history as well. After this series of questions, your doctor will perform certain exams and tests including:
Physical Exam – During this exam, the doctor will get your weight, height, blood pressure and other important pieces of information.
Pelvic Exam – The doctor manually and visually looks for signs of growths, masses or other abnormalities on your reproductive organs.
Blood Tests – The doctor may draw your blood to measure the levels of a few hormones to rule out androgen excess or potential causes of menstrual abnormalities that mimic PCOS.
Ultrasound – The doctor will check to see how your ovaries look and examine how thick the lining of your uterus is.
Other possible tests may include thyroid function tests for determining the amount of thyroid hormone that is produced by your body, lipid level tests for assessing how much cholesterol is in your blood and fasting glucose tests for measuring your blood sugar levels.
These tests help the doctor to eliminate other possible causes of your symptoms and come up with the PCOS diagnosis. They might also refer you to an endocrinologist or hormone specialist to help with the diagnosis.
There is no curative PCOS treatment. Typically, treatment focuses on preventing complications, managing the condition and controlling any symptoms you have. Treatment can vary, depending on what your symptoms are.
Your doctor may have you make some lifestyle modifications like exercising and eating a healthy diet. You may receive a fertility treatment known as ovulation induction or medicinal treatments designed to treat menstrual cycle irregularity or unwanted hair growth.
If you suspect that you may have polycystic ovarian syndrome, we encourage you to book an appointment for a PCOS evaluation here at New York Reproductive Wellness.