How is PCOS Diagnosed?

Unfortunately there is no test for PCOS diagnosis but speak to your medical professional if you are experiencing any of the below

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How to diagnose PCOS:

PCOS is officially diagnosed using the Rotterdam Criteria. PCOS is diagnosed when a woman meets TWO of the following THREE criteria:

  1. Ovulatory disorders, often indicated by menstrual cycle disturbances such as infrequent (oligo-menorrhoea or absent periods (amenorrhoea)
  2. Hyperandrogenism: Evidence of raised androgen levels in the blood, either from a blood test or from clinical signs, hirsutism (unwanted hair) and skin disorders such as acne and greasy skin.
  3. Polycystic Ovaries: The presence on ultrasound scan of multiple small follicles just below the surface of the ovary.

PCOS is a variable condition that affects women in different ways. Some women have only a few, minor symptoms, whereas others may have severe symptoms across all categories. You could have PCOS without actually having polycystic ovaries (small cysts on your ovaries).

How do they test you for PCOS?

Blood tests can be taken in order to test for hyperandrogenism and also can help to diagnose ovulatory disorders. Ovulatory disorders are often diagnosed when looking at your medical history as well. 

An internal transvaginal ultrasound is used when looking for any cysts in the ovaries. This type of scan allows a doctor to look much more closely at your womb and ovaries and is the most common method for diagnosing PCOS. “Transvaginal” means “into the vagina”. The procedure requires you to lay on your back with your knees up, then a small ultrasound probe is gently passed through the vagina.

Diagnosed with PCOS? What next?

Referral to a specialist

If you are diagnosed with PCOS, you will either be treated by your GP or referred to a specialist gynaecologist for the treatment of fertility problems or an endocrinologist for treatment of a hormonal imbalance.

The doctor will discuss the best way to manage your symptoms. In most instances they will recommend lifestyle changes and start you on any necessary medication.

Follow-up schedule for PCOS

Your main symptoms, age and weight will determine the follow-up procedure. Typically, you will be offered annual appointments to check your blood pressure and screen for diabetes.

Other helpful PCOS information

Potential PCOS symptoms you may face

PCOS Diagnosis FAQs

How long does it take the average couple to conceive?

Most couples will get pregnant within 12 months of trying if they are having sex regularly and are not using contraception. For women, the chances of success fall quite sharply each year once they reach the age of 35 but It is important to remember that both men and women become less fertile as they get older and the causes of infertility are almost equally spread between men and women.

What makes conception difficult?

Fertility Specialist Dr Gill Lockwood say’s “human beings are actually not very fertile even young couples have a one in four chance of getting pregnant each month they try and by the women’s mid-thirties this chance has dropped to one in eight.”. On top of this, modern lifestyle is often not conducive to having good fertile health. The truth is that, even if you are lucky and have perfect fertile health, there are things that can go wrong at every stage which make successful conception unlikely.

What not to do while trying to conceive?

Try to not put yourself under too much pressure. It is very natural to feel stressed and anxious if you have been trying to conceive for a while with no success. Try to maintain relaxed, make manageable changes to your lifestyle to give yourself the best possible chance. If you have been trying to conceive for over 1 year without success, make an appointment to see your doctor for further investigation.

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