The Testing and Diagnosis of PCOS

By N.S.

What is PCOS?

“Polycystic (pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman’s:

  • Menstrual cycle
  • Ability to have children
  • Hormones
  • Heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Appearance

With PCOS, women typically have:

  • High levels of androgens (AN-druh-junz). These are sometimes called male hormones, though females also make them.
  • Missed or irregular periods (monthly bleeding)
  • Many small cysts (sists) (fluid-filled sacs) in their ovaries”  (2)

Dealing with Polycystic ovary syndrome

Testing

“There is no simple test to measure conclusively whether or not someone has PCOS. Therefore, in order to try and diagnose PCOS, care providers usually:

  • do a medical history to elicit menstual and fertility history
  • do a physical exam to check for clinical evidence of symptoms
  • do blood work to check various hormone levels
  • do an ultrasound of the ovaries (not always done by every care provider)

PCOS tends to be a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other conditions that might cause similar symptoms must be ruled out before one can conclude that PCOS is present. Among others, these conditions might include:

Blood work in particular is helpful in ruling out these other conditions, since many present with similar symptoms to PCOS (hirsutism, mentrual irregularities, weight gain, etc.).” (1)

One of my kids was just diagnosed with this and for many years she suffered from it with unexplainable weight gain, sluggishness and other unpleasant conditions.  Many teens get this with the onset of puberty and never know this is what is causing their symptoms.  The good news is that once they get the proper treatment for it, they lose all the weight and access hair growth especially if they exercise and eat healthy meals. In my daughters case, she exercised hard with absolutely no results and could not lose weight no matter how hard she tried and this is how we knew that something was not right.  Obesity never ran in our family and we have good metabolism so that was a warning sign.  She started sweating excessively and grew unwanted hair on her chin for no real good reason.   There are many before and after photos of women online who lost lots of weight after their treatments.  If you are interested, you can Google them. So many success stories!

I just wanted to make these young women who have these problems aware of what is going on so they can correct it early in life because it can cause diabetes if let go too long.  The proper specialist to see for this is a gynecologist who will test her blood to see if she has the hormone imbalances that cause this.  Here are a couple of links to some very informative articles about PCOS:

1)   http://wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/2011/10/pcos-testing-and-diagnosis.html

2)   http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ov ry-asyndrome.html

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