Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal condition that can affect any woman in her child-bearing years. This condition disrupts the maturity and release of female eggs and often causes irregularities in the menstrual cycle.
The effects of PCOS can have an impact on female fertility, leading many patients to seek infertility treatment to increase their chances of becoming pregnant. At The Centre for Reproductive Medicine in Lubbock, TX, Dr. Janelle Dorsett offers fertility treatments that address PCOS, but the condition needs to be diagnosed first. Here, we go over the typical process of diagnosing PCOS.
Characteristics of PCOS
Women who suffer from PCOS may experience a number of different symptoms, including irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, headaches, and darkening of the skin. Most women do not recognize these as potential symptoms of PCOS. It is often not until a woman has difficulty becoming pregnant that she seeks medical care and the condition is finally diagnosed.
While multiple symptoms may be present in PCOS patients, the three key characteristics that we are looking for when diagnosing the condition at our Lubbock practice are:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- High androgen levels (a male hormone)
- Cysts in the ovaries
If patients exhibit at least two of these three symptoms, they are typically diagnosed with PCOS. There are a series of tests that allow us to detect these issues so that PCOS can be diagnosed and appropriately treated.
A pelvic exam is frequently performed as part of the PCOS diagnostic process. When performing a pelvic exam, we are checking for irregularities in the reproductive system.
Blood tests offer valuable information when we suspect that one of our Lubbock patients is suffering from PCOS. We may run a series of blood tests to give us an accurate overview of the patient’s overall health and reproductive health. Since PSOC is a hormonal condition, we will test hormone levels in the blood. An elevated level of male hormones is a good indicator of PCOS.
PCOS has frequently been recognized as a precursor to other health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Because of this, we may also order blood tests to check the patient’s cholesterol, insulin, and triglyceride levels.
An ultrasound is another type of test that may be used to diagnose PCOS. Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to create an image of the scanned area. If Dr. Dorsett suspects that a patient is experiencing PCOS, she may perform an ultrasound to examine the ovaries and uterus. She will be looking for growths, cysts, or abnormal follicles, all of which may indicate PCOS or other fertility problems.
Schedule an Appointment
Diagnosis is the first step to addressing PCOS so that a woman has a better chance of becoming pregnant. If you are experiencing potential symptoms of PCOS and would like to learn more about your condition, call (806) 788-1212 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Janelle Dorsett.