What is PCOS and How it can be Diagnosed?

Polycystic ovary disorder (PCOS) impacts 12-18% of women of reproductive age and up to 21% in a few high-risk groups, for example, Indigenous women. As the name ‘polycystic’ suggests, you may have several ‘cysts’ on your ovaries, yet not every woman who has PCOS has several ‘cysts’ and not every woman has numerous ‘cysts’ has PCOS. The term ‘cysts’ is somewhat deceptive. The cysts are not pimples but rather incompletely formed follicles that each has an egg. This is why most of the doctors suggest ultrasound Gurgaon to detect cyst.

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Symptoms of PCOS may include:

Periods & fertility                                          

  • No periods or periods that are irregular, infrequent, heavy
  • Immature ovarian eggs that do not ovulate
  • Multiple cysts on the ovaries
  • Difficulty becoming pregnant

Hair & skin

  • Excess facial and/or body hair (hirsutism)
  • Acne on the face and/or body
  • Scalp hair loss (alopecia)
  • Darkened skin patches (acanthosis nigricans)

Mental & emotional health

  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Sleep

Sleep apnoea (a sleep disorder in which abnormal pauses of breathing occur during sleep)

PCOS symptoms present in many different ways. A few women will have just a few, or mild symptoms, whereas others will have serious side effects.

When to see your doctor

If you are doubtful of having PCOS, you have to visit a doctor.

Below is the list of tests your doctor may suggest to test for PCOS and to ignore other conditions. Not all tests are required for every woman.

Medical history & examination

When it comes to diagnosis, your doctor will go through your medical history and evaluate your weight, physical symptoms, and BMI (body mass index).

Ultrasound

An ultrasound of the ovaries, uterus and the pelvis can be taken to find out whether an ovary is enlarged and whether there are any cysts on your ovaries.

A transvaginal ultrasound is an easy test with no radiation. It utilizes a pen–shaped probe with an ultrasound sensor on the tip, which is put into the vagina. This generates a much clearer picture than an abdominal ultrasound.

Transvaginal ultrasounds are just performed on sexually active women, generally an abdominal scan is done where the ovaries are seen from the outside through the stomach wall.

In case, your doctor suggests you some tests, the ultrasound in Gurgaon will be one of them.

Blood tests

Hormonal blood tests

Blood tests are utilized to evaluate the levels of androgens in your body. Blood tests for androgens, (for example, testosterone) and free androgen index (FAI) are the best tests for identifying whether you have hyperandrogenism (high androgen levels).

Other blood tests that can be ideal in finding high androgen levels include:

  • sex hormone binding–globulin (SHBG)
  • dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS)
  • androstenedione

Blood tests may also be carried out to evaluate the levels of different reproductive hormones in your body as these may put an impact on your menstruation. These may involve testing your levels of:

  • oestradiol (oestrogen)
  • follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • luteinising hormone (LH)

Blood tests to exclude other conditions that have the same symptoms to PCOS may assess the levels of:

  • thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • prolactin
  • hormones related to adrenal function (glands found above the kidney), e.g. 17-hydroxyprogesterone

Other tests

Evaluating your risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes is significant when testing for PCOS on the grounds that there are links between insulin obstruction and PCOS and being overweight. Tests to evaluate these risks will measure:

  • cholesterol blood test
  • blood pressure
  • glucose metabolism/tolerance blood test

If you have PCOS you must have a cholesterol and glucose resilience test at regular intervals for two years, and blood pressure must be checked each year. If you have risk factors, for example, a family history of diabetes or past abnormal cholesterol tests, at that point these tests should be carried out more frequently.

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