How will I get Diagnosed?

Only a doctor can test for PCOS. He or she will talk to you about the symptoms you may be experiencing and conduct lab tests to check your blood sugar, insulin and other hormone levels to rule out thyroid and other glandular problems that can cause the same symptoms. Some of the things your doctor will look for that could indicate PCOS are:

  • Elevated free testosterone
  • Elevated dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)  
  • Low sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)
  • Insulin resistance- often the underlying cause of PCOS measured by the 2 hour glucose tolerance test
  • Elevated Lutenizing Hormone (LH) when compared to Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Ovarian Cysts as seen through an ultrasound. Although, not everyone with PCOS has ovarian cysts and not everyone with ovarian cysts has PCOS
  • Abnormal cholesterol and or triglycerides 
  • Elevated liver enzymes which indicates non alcoholic fatty liver disease

Your doctor should perform some or all of these tests to help determine whether PCOS is your diagnosis. He or she will also use these baseline levels to compare over time to assess the effectiveness of different treatment options. Some of the symptoms of PCOS may be shared in other diseases such as Cushing syndrome or androgen secreting tumors, or even due to medications.

Unfortunately, PCOS is one of the most under-diagnosed reproductive syndromes in women today. Because symptoms often seem unrelated, doctors may try to treat each problem individually rather than evaluating their relationship to each other.

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