Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women, affecting 5-10% of reproductive-aged women. Diagnosis is generally made based on the presence of irregular menstrual periods, elevated male hormone levels (androgens), and polycystic ovaries. PCOS is associated with obesity, hair loss, ACNE, insulin-resistance, and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These metabolic and reproductive abnormalities predispose women to developing infertility and endometrial cancer, which is why early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are so important.
There is no single test for diagnosing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). You may be diagnosed with PCOS based upon your symptoms, blood tests, and a physical examination. Expert groups have determined that a woman must have two out of three of the following to be diagnosed with PCOS:
In addition, there must be no other cause of elevated androgen levels or irregular periods (eg, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, androgen-secreting tumors, or hyperprolactinemia).
Blood tests are usually recommended to determine whether another condition is the cause of your signs and/or symptoms. Blood tests for pregnancy, prolactin level, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) may be recommended. Insulin levels are not used to diagnose PCOS, partly because insulin levels are high in people who are above normal body weight and because there is no level of insulin that is “diagnostic” for PCOS.