Polycystic ovary syndrome
Diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
If you are experiencing symptoms of PCOS, your doctor may use the following methods to diagnose you:
- Hormone testing to check the level of androgens in your blood. Your doctor may also use blood tests to check your blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Physical exam to look for tell-tale signs of PCOS, like excess hair growth, discolored skin, and hormonal acne.
- Pelvic exam to check for cysts in the ovaries and to rule out other conditions that cause PCOS-like symptoms.
- Ultrasound imaging of your reproductive organs to check for the presence of cysts.
PCOS treatment and prevention options depend on your age, medical history, and personal goals. Several strategies can aid in the treatment of this condition.
Initially, lifestyle changes like weight loss can help ease the symptoms of PCOS. However, losing weight can be difficult for women with PCOS because of increased insulin resistance. Increasing activity and decreasing your intake of sugary and processed foods are good steps.
In addition, your doctor may prescribe medications, including:
- Birth control pills to regulate hormone levels and menstrual periods. Birth control pills may also help control acne.
- Fertility drugs to help you get pregnant if you desire. Many women with PCOS don’t ovulate regularly. Medication can stimulate ovulation.
- Diabetes medication to decrease insulin resistance. Even if you don’t have diabetes, these may improve PCOS symptoms.
- Antiandrogen drugs to control androgen levels. These medications can cause congenital disabilities, so you should not take them if you are or are planning to become pregnant.
- Acne treatments, including antibiotics taken by mouth and acne-specific creams and gels.
Surgery is an additional option for treatment. If you are diagnosed with PCOS and want to have children but have not had success with fertility medications, your doctor may suggest ovarian surgery.
The symptoms of PCOS are usually treatable. Dignity Health is committed to helping women with PCOS find relief through accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plans tailored to their needs.
Dignity Health offers compassionate, holistic care for hormonal and reproductive disorders, including PCOS. If you have symptoms of PCOS, Find a Doctor to discuss your treatment options.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.