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Diagnosing polycystic ovary syndrome

If you have any of the typical symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) see your GP. Your GP will ask you about your symptoms to try and rule out other causes and check your blood pressure. Your GP or specialist may then request an ultrasound scan, which can show if you have polycystic ovaries (a chain of cysts is often seen, and the ovaries are enlarged). However, the diagnosis can often be confirmed without a scan. You may also need a blood test to determine levels of: hormones, such as luteinising hormone (LH), oestradiol, prolactin and testosterone glucose and cholesterol, depending on which other features are present

Referral to a specialist
If you are diagnosed with PCOS, you're likely to be referred to a specialist either a gynaecologist (specialist in treating conditions of the female reproductive system) or an endocrinologist (specialist in treating hormone problems). Your specialist will discuss with you the best way to manage your symptoms. They will advise you on any lifestyle changes to make, and start you on any necessary medication.

Follow-up
If you have PCOS, you should request annual blood pressure checks checks to detect the possible longterm effects of the condition. If you are resistant to insulin you may also consider having your glucose levels checked annually.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - When To Call a Doctor


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continued... If you are older than 40, call your doctor if you have: Vaginal bleeding that lasts more than 8 days; large clots; or excessive spotting. Pelvic pain that lasts for more than 4 weeks. Any symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst and frequent urination (especially at night), unexplained increase in appetite, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, or tingling or numbness in your hands or feet. Any symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, or high blood pressure (hypertension). Depression or mood swings. Many women may have emotional problems related to the physical symptoms of PCOS, such as excess hair, obesity, or infertility. Decided to quit smoking, if you have been smoking. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Watchful Waiting Taking a wait-and-see approach (called watchful waiting) is not appropriate when PCOS is suspected. Early diagnosis and treatment may help prevent future complications such as reproductive, metabolic, or heart problems. Who To See Health professionals who can diagnose and treat PCOS include:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Exams and Tests


If you have possible symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as menstrual cycle problems or trouble getting pregnant, see your doctor for an exam. PCOS increases your risks of infertility,uterine cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, be sure to have regular checkups. This helps you and your doctor lower your risk of these serious health problems. No single test can show that you have PCOS. Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some lab tests. You may also have an ultrasound scan of your pelvis.
Recommended Related to Women
Escape from the Worry Trap By Diane Umansky When many of us are peacefully slumbering, Paula McClure, the owner of a spa in Dallas, is often jolted awake by what she refers to as her sleep committee. "The committee meets in my head at 3 a.m., and we run down a list of problems: all the things I didn't get done that day, people I didn't call back, decisions I'm worried about," she says. The dark-of-the-night fretting may follow McClure into the daytime hours, often making her feel emotionally paralyzed. "My... Read the Escape from the Worry Trap article > >

The medical history includes questions about your symptoms. Your doctor may ask you about changes in your weight, skin,hair, and menstrual cycle. He or she may also ask you about problems with getting pregnant, medicines you are taking, and your eating and exercise habits. Be sure to mention whether you have lost hair from your scalp or have male-pattern facial or body hair. You will also talk about any family history of hormone (endocrine) problems, including diabetes. The physical exam checks your thyroid, skin, hair, breasts, and belly. You will have a blood pressure check and a pelvic examto check for enlarged or abnormal ovaries. Your doctor can also tell you what yourbody mass index (BMI) is, based on yourheight and weight. Lab tests are also used to look for signs of PCOS. These signs may include highandrogen levels, high blood sugar, or high lipid levels. Other tests may include checking your blood for:

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), to find out if you are pregnant. Testosterone, an androgen. Androgens at high levels can block ovulation andcause acne, male-type hair growth on the face and body, and hair loss from the scalp. Prolactin, which can play a part in a lack of menstrual cycles or infertility. Cholesterol and triglycerides, which can be at unhealthy levels with PCOS. A chemistry screen to check kidney and liver function and glucose levels. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to check for an overactive or underactivethyroid. Adrenal gland hormones, such as DHEA-S or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. An adrenal problem can cause symptoms much like PCOS. Glucose tolerance and insulin levels, which can show insulin resistance. A pelvic ultrasound can show enlarged ovaries or more eggs than normal on the ovaries, which are signs of PCOS. But many women with PCOS do not have these signs.

Regular testing for diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer for women who have PCOS Diabetes. If you have PCOS, experts recommend that you have blood glucosetesting for diabetes by age 30.6 You may have this done at a younger age if you have PCOS and other risk factors for diabetes (such as obesity, lack of exercise, a family history of diabetes, or gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy). After this, your doctor will tell you how often to have testing for diabetes.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Exams and Tests


(continued)
continued... Heart disease. Your doctor will regularly check your cholesterol and triglycerides, blood pressure, and weight. This is because PCOS is linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack, and stroke. Uterine (endometrial) cancer. Regular menstrual cycles normally build up and "clear off" the uterine lining every month. When the uterine lining builds up for a long time, precancer of the uterine lining (endometrial hyperplasia) can grow. If you have had infrequent menstrual periods for at least 1 year, your doctor may use atransvaginal ultrasound and/or endometrial biopsy to look for signs of precancer or cancer.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Exams and Tests


If you have possible symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as menstrual cycle problems or trouble getting pregnant, see your doctor for an exam. PCOS increases your risks of infertility,uterine cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, be sure to have regular checkups. This helps you and your doctor lower your risk of these serious health problems. No single test can show that you have PCOS. Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some lab tests. You may also have an ultrasound scan of your pelvis.
Recommended Related to Women
Escape from the Worry Trap By Diane Umansky When many of us are peacefully slumbering, Paula McClure, the owner of a spa in Dallas, is often jolted awake by what she refers to as her sleep committee. "The committee meets in my head at 3 a.m., and we run down a list of problems: all the things I didn't get done that day, people I didn't call back, decisions I'm worried about," she says. The dark-of-the-night fretting may follow McClure into the daytime hours, often making her feel emotionally paralyzed. "My... Read the Escape from the Worry Trap article > >

The medical history includes questions about your symptoms. Your doctor may ask you about changes in your weight, skin,hair, and menstrual cycle. He or she may also ask you about problems with getting pregnant, medicines you are taking, and your eating and exercise habits. Be sure to mention whether you have lost hair from your scalp or have male-pattern facial or body hair. You will also talk about any family history of hormone (endocrine) problems, including diabetes. The physical exam checks your thyroid, skin, hair, breasts, and belly. You will have a blood pressure check and a pelvic examto check for enlarged or abnormal ovaries. Your doctor can also tell you what yourbody mass index (BMI) is, based on yourheight and weight. Lab tests are also used to look for signs of PCOS. These signs may include highandrogen levels, high blood sugar, or high lipid levels. Other tests may include checking your blood for:

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), to find out if you are pregnant. Testosterone, an androgen. Androgens at high levels can block ovulation andcause acne, male-type hair growth on the face and body, and hair loss from the scalp.

Prolactin, which can play a part in a lack of menstrual cycles or infertility. Cholesterol and triglycerides, which can be at unhealthy levels with PCOS. A chemistry screen to check kidney and liver function and glucose levels. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to check for an overactive or underactivethyroid. Adrenal gland hormones, such as DHEA-S or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. An adrenal problem can cause symptoms much like PCOS. Glucose tolerance and insulin levels, which can show insulin resistance. A pelvic ultrasound can show enlarged ovaries or more eggs than normal on the ovaries, which are signs of PCOS. But many women with PCOS do not have these signs. Regular testing for diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer for women who have PCOS Diabetes. If you have PCOS, experts recommend that you have blood glucosetesting for diabetes by age 30.6 You may have this done at a younger age if you have PCOS and other risk factors for diabetes (such as obesity, lack of exercise, a family history of diabetes, or gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy). After this, your doctor will tell you how often to have testing for diabetes.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Exams and Tests


(continued)
continued... Heart disease. Your doctor will regularly check your cholesterol and triglycerides, blood pressure, and weight. This is because PCOS is linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, weight gain, high cholesterol, heart disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack, and stroke. Uterine (endometrial) cancer. Regular menstrual cycles normally build up and "clear off" the uterine lining every month. When the uterine lining builds up for a long time, precancer of the uterine lining (endometrial hyperplasia) can grow. If you have had infrequent menstrual periods for at least 1 year, your doctor may use atransvaginal ultrasound and/or endometrial biopsy to look for signs of precancer or cancer.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Exams and Tests


If you have possible symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as menstrual cycle problems or trouble getting pregnant, see your doctor for an exam. PCOS increases your risks of infertility,uterine cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, be sure to have regular checkups. This helps you and your doctor lower your risk of these serious health problems. No single test can show that you have PCOS. Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some lab tests. You may also have an ultrasound scan of your pelvis.
Recommended Related to Women
Escape from the Worry Trap By Diane Umansky When many of us are peacefully slumbering, Paula McClure, the owner of a spa in Dallas, is often jolted awake by what she refers to as her sleep committee. "The committee meets in my head at 3 a.m., and we run down a list of problems: all the things I didn't get done that day, people I didn't call back, decisions I'm worried about," she says. The dark-of-the-night fretting may follow McClure into the daytime hours, often making her feel emotionally paralyzed. "My... Read the Escape from the Worry Trap article > >

The medical history includes questions about your symptoms. Your doctor may ask you about changes in your weight, skin,hair, and menstrual cycle. He or she may also ask you about problems with getting pregnant, medicines you are taking, and your eating and exercise habits. Be sure to mention whether you have lost hair from your scalp or have male-pattern facial or body hair. You will also talk about any family history of hormone (endocrine) problems, including diabetes.

The physical exam checks your thyroid, skin, hair, breasts, and belly. You will have a blood pressure check and a pelvic examto check for enlarged or abnormal ovaries. Your doctor can also tell you what yourbody mass index (BMI) is, based on yourheight and weight. Lab tests are also used to look for signs of PCOS. These signs may include highandrogen levels, high blood sugar, or high lipid levels. Other tests may include checking your blood for:

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), to find out if you are pregnant. Testosterone, an androgen. Androgens at high levels can block ovulation andcause acne, male-type hair growth on the face and body, and hair loss from the scalp. Prolactin, which can play a part in a lack of menstrual cycles or infertility. Cholesterol and triglycerides, which can be at unhealthy levels with PCOS. A chemistry screen to check kidney and liver function and glucose levels. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to check for an overactive or underactivethyroid. Adrenal gland hormones, such as DHEA-S or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. An adrenal problem can cause symptoms much like PCOS. Glucose tolerance and insulin levels, which can show insulin resistance. A pelvic ultrasound can show enlarged ovaries or more eggs than normal on the ovaries, which are signs of PCOS. But many women with PCOS do not have these signs. Regular testing for diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer for women who have PCOS Diabetes. If you have PCOS, experts recommend that you have blood glucosetesting for diabetes by age 30.6 You may have this done at a younger age if you have PCOS and other risk factors for diabetes (such as obesity, lack of exercise, a family history of diabetes, or gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy). After this, your doctor will tell you how often to have testing for diabetes.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Exams and Tests


If you have possible symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as menstrual cycle problems or trouble getting pregnant, see your doctor for an exam. PCOS increases your risks of infertility,uterine cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, be sure to have regular checkups. This helps you and your doctor lower your risk of these serious health problems. No single test can show that you have PCOS. Your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, do a physical exam, and run some lab tests. You may also have an ultrasound scan of your pelvis.
Recommended Related to Women
Escape from the Worry Trap By Diane Umansky When many of us are peacefully slumbering, Paula McClure, the owner of a spa in Dallas, is often jolted awake by what she refers to as her sleep committee. "The committee meets in my head at 3 a.m., and we run down a list of problems: all the things I didn't get done that day, people I didn't call back, decisions I'm worried about," she says. The dark-of-the-night fretting may follow McClure into the daytime hours, often making her feel emotionally paralyzed. "My... Read the Escape from the Worry Trap article > >

The medical history includes questions about your symptoms. Your doctor may ask you about changes in your weight, skin,hair, and menstrual cycle. He or she may also ask you about problems with getting pregnant, medicines you are taking, and your eating and exercise habits. Be sure to mention whether you have lost hair from your scalp or have male-pattern facial or body hair. You will also talk about any family history of hormone (endocrine) problems, including diabetes. The physical exam checks your thyroid, skin, hair, breasts, and belly. You will have a blood pressure check and a pelvic examto check for enlarged or abnormal ovaries. Your doctor can also tell you what yourbody mass index (BMI) is, based on yourheight and weight.

Lab tests are also used to look for signs of PCOS. These signs may include highandrogen levels, high blood sugar, or high lipid levels. Other tests may include checking your blood for: Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), to find out if you are pregnant. Testosterone, an androgen. Androgens at high levels can block ovulation andcause acne, male-type hair growth on the face and body, and hair loss from the scalp. Prolactin, which can play a part in a lack of menstrual cycles or infertility. Cholesterol and triglycerides, which can be at unhealthy levels with PCOS. A chemistry screen to check kidney and liver function and glucose levels. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to check for an overactive or underactivethyroid. Adrenal gland hormones, such as DHEA-S or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. An adrenal problem can cause symptoms much like PCOS. Glucose tolerance and insulin levels, which can show insulin resistance. A pelvic ultrasound can show enlarged ovaries or more eggs than normal on the ovaries, which are signs of PCOS. But many women with PCOS do not have these signs. Regular testing for diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer for women who have PCOS Diabetes. If you have PCOS, experts recommend that you have blood glucosetesting for diabetes by age 30.6 You may have this done at a younger age if you have PCOS and other risk factors for diabetes (such as obesity, lack of exercise, a family history of diabetes, or gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy). After this, your doctor will tell you how often to have testing for diabetes.