PCOS diagnosis: What tests are used to identify the condition?
4% to 12% of women of reproductive age have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Many professionals find it challenging to diagnose this widespread condition because there are no clear diagnostic criteria. An internist, family doctor, nurse practitioner, pediatrician, gynecologist, dermatologist, or endocrinologist may be consulted by a patient due to the disorder’s diverse presentations. There are several reproductive health related issues that a woman should know of this will help them stay alert and take better care of themselves.
What is PCOS:
A hormonal issue known as a polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects women during their reproductive years. For example, you might not have regular periods if you have PCOS. Or perhaps you experience lengthy menstrual cycles. This is because a hormone termed androgen may be present in your body in excess.
In people with PCOS, in the ovary’s outer edge, many small bags of fluid form. Cysts are what they are. In the small cysts filled with fluid are developing eggs. They are known as follicles. The follicles stop releasing eggs regularly. There is no recognized cause for PCOS. However, losing weight and receiving early diagnosis and treatment may help to reduce the risk of developing long-term consequences like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Symptoms of PCOS:
PCOS symptoms frequently appear at the beginning of the first cycle of menstruation. At times, post the menstrual cycle, symptoms appear. Different PCOS symptoms exist. When you exhibit at least two of them, you are diagnosed with PCOS.
Irregular time frames
PCOS is often judged by irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles. Having periods that last several days or longer than what is customary for a period is also acceptable. You may experience less than nine periods a year. Additionally, those intervals may be more significant than 35 days. As a result, you can experience difficulties conceiving.
A surplus of androgen:
Excessive body and facial hair may come from high androgen levels. Hirsutism is the term for this. Male-pattern baldness and severe acne can also occur occasionally.
Perhaps your ovaries are larger. On the border of the ovary, eggs with follicle like structures are formed. It’s possible that the ovaries don’t function properly.
Appointment with the doctor:
All the indications and symptoms you have observed should be reported to your doctor. This is a crucial step to help determine if you have PCOS and to filter out other illnesses with similar symptoms. You will be questioned about your family’s medical history, particularly if your mother or sibling has PCOS or has trouble getting pregnant. The fact that PCOS often runs in families is valuable knowledge. Prepare to discuss any period issues you’ve experienced, weight changes, etc.
If you experience two or more of these signs, your doctor may determine that you have PCOS:
- Irregular cycles
- Higher amounts of androgen or male hormones detected through blood testing or Symptoms such as acne, male pattern baldness, or additional body or facial hair development.
- Your ovaries’ cysts, as detected by an ultrasound examination.
PCOS diagnosis test:
1. Physical examination:
Your doctor might measure your waist size, body mass index, and blood pressure. Usually, they also examine your skin for signs of PCOS, such as excessive hair growth, acne, and discolored skin. Physical examination includes:
- Pelvic exam: This is comparable to what is done during a routine examination. The cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum are the bodily parts your doctor will examine and feel for any unusual symptoms.
- Pelvic ultrasound: An image of your ovaries is produced by a pelvic ultrasound or sonogram. You lie down for the ultrasound, and the doctor discreetly inserts an ultrasound probe into your vagina. Your doctor will examine your ovaries for cysts and your uterus lining thickness. If your periods aren’t coming when they should, that lining might be thicker than usual.
When you have PCOS, your ovaries may be 1.5 to 3 times larger than they should be. The ultrasound can reveal ovarian alterations in roughly 90% of women with PCOS.
- Blood tests: A vein in your arm will draw a little blood volume for your doctor or another healthcare professional. Levels of hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH, luteinizing hormone or LH, testosterone, oestrogen etc will be checked.
- Human chorionic gonadotropin test: This hormone test is carried out to check whether you are pregnant.
- Anti-mullerian hormone test: This test can determine how effectively your ovary’s function and estimate when menopause might start. With PCOS, the levels would be more significant.
Doctors often suggest a couple of tests rule out the possibility of other disorders such as thyroid, tumour, and hyperplasia since they have resonating symptoms such as PCOS.
What to do if you have PCOS?
It should be remembered that having PCOD does not guarantee infertility. A blood glucose and cholesterol test may then be performed to determine if you have PCOS. In addition, doctors frequently perform these tests to assess your general health and the likelihood of developing additional conditions:
- Lipid profiles: Your triglycerides and cholesterol are measured by lipid profiles. You may be more susceptible to heart problems if you have PCOS.
- Glucose test: A glucose test can be used to diagnose diabetes. This illness affects more than half of PCOS-affected women.
- Insulin: Your physician will be interested in learning how well your body reacts to insulin, which helps regulate your blood sugar level. You can have insulin resistance if your body doesn’t respond to the insulin that it produces. Diabetes can result from it, which is frequent in PCOS-affected women.
Amongst women of reproductive age, PCOS, also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a prevalent hormonal condition. Medical history, physical examination, and laboratory procedures such blood tests, ultrasound imaging, and hormone level assessments are all used to diagnose PCOD. Based on the medical expert and their organization, the diagnostic standards may change. To begin the proper course of treatment, however, and avoid long-term health implications like diabetes and heart disease. It is advisable to speak with your healthcare professional if you think you might have PCOS so they can properly diagnose and treat you.
Frequently asked questions:
1. How can I test PCOS at home?
Without the help of a medical expert, it is not advised to self-diagnose or try to test PCOS at home. However, some signs, including as irregular periods, acne, and excessive hair growth, can be seen at home.
2. What is the cost of a PCOS test?
A PCOS test’s price can change depending on the test’s type and the facility or healthcare provider that conducts it. In India, blood testing and assessments of hormone levels for PCOS might cost anywhere from Rs 1,500 to Rs 5000.
3. When to take the PCOS test?
It’s critical to see your doctor for a diagnosis if you have PCOS symptoms including irregular periods, acne, significant hair growth, weight gain, or trouble getting pregnant.
4. How do you diagnose if you have PCOS?
An amalgam of medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests are typically used to diagnose PCOS. Physical examinations, blood testing, and ultrasound imaging are typically performed as part of the PCOS diagnosis process.