PCOS: Tough to Diagnose; Leads To Infertility, Diabetes, Obesity

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By Staff Blogger

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a serious disease that affects millions of women in the United States. It causes a variety of symptoms ranging from physical to emotional disorders. It directly affects menstruation and fertility as well. Many women with PCOS have a very hard time becoming pregnant without the use of fertility drugs.

A panel that was based on the Evidence-based Methodology Workshop decided that they wanted to change the name of PCOS in January 2013. This is due in large part to the fact that not all women with PCOS actually have cysts on their ovaries and it is going undiagnosed due to the lack of the cysts. They decided that they following three symptoms should be the main criteria and two out of the three should be met for a diagnosis:

  • Excess androgens in the body
  •  Ovulatory issues (problems conceiving)
  • Multiple cysts on the ovaries

Typical symptoms of PCOS include:

–         Acne

–         Rapid weight gain

–         Excess body hair

–         Hair loss on the scalp

–         Missed or irregular periods

–         Infertility

–         Blood sugar or insulin problems

–         Ovarian cysts

–         Lack of ovulation

Testing for PCOS is extremely difficult and requires many tests to be done. Symptoms must be noted. Then after comes a blood test to determine androgen levels as well as blood sugar levels. Evaluating menstrual cycles is key and an ultrasound to confirm if there are ovarian cysts or not is as well.

The other problem with diagnosing PCOS is that the symptoms are not just OB/GYN related. Women may go to a fertility specialist for their infertility, and a regular doctor for the excess weight gain. PCOS down the road can cause diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and a higher risk of cancer.

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