PCOS….Symptoms and Diagnosis

Signs and symptoms:

Common signs and symptoms of PCOS are:

  • PCOS mostly produces oligomenorrhea (fewer than nine menstrual periods in a year) or amenorrhea (no menstrual periods for three or more consecutive months), but other types of menstrual disorders may also occur.
  • infertility, that usually results from chronic anovulation (lack of ovulation)
  • Weight gain
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Hirsutism (excess and thick body hair growth) or hair loss

Diagnosis:

Not everyone with PCOS has polycystic ovaries (PCO), nor does everyone with ovarian cyst have PCOS; A diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome can be made when at least two out of three of the following criteria are met:

The ovaries are “polycystic” because:

  • presence of 12 or more follicles in one ovary
    • the size of ovaries is increased
    • elevated levels of ‘male’ hormones (androgens) in the blood
  • lack of periods or menses (menstrual flow)
    • menstrual irregularity
    • deficiency of ovulation (where an egg is released)

As part of the diagnosis, the doctor will review medical history and assess physical symptoms, weight, and BMI (body mass index)

Ultrasound of the uterus, ovaries and the pelvis can be performed to identify whether there are any cysts in ovaries and whether an ovary is enlarged.

Blood tests Blood tests are used to assess the levels of androgens in body and to assess the levels of other reproductive hormones in  body as these may affect menstruation. These may include testing levels of:

  • estradiol (estrogen)
  • follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • luteinizing hormone (LH)

In order to assess the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes following blood tests are also performed;

  • blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • glucose metabolism/ tolerance.

Imaging tests:

The following imaging studies can be performed in order to  evaluate PCOS:

  • Ovarian ultrasonography, preferably using transvaginal approach
  • Pelvic CT scan or MRI so that visualize the adrenals and ovaries

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