What to Expect During a PCOS Test?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes abnormal hormone levels in the body. As a result, it leads to other side effects and symptoms in the body.
There is no one distinct test for detecting C. Doctors and physicians diagnose this condition based on symptoms and abnormal levels in the blood.
Clinical Testing for PCOS
There numerous tests for PCOS and each detects different symptoms and evidence that are used to diagnose this condition. They include:
1) Medical history & Physical examination
The doctor will review your medical history and physically assess your symptoms like weight, hair growth, acne, etc.
If required, a pelvic test can be requested. Here the physicians will examine your reproductive organs. It takes only a few minutes and is painless.
Be prepared for questions like:
What symptoms do you experience and how often?
When did the symptoms begin?
When was your last period?
What is your family history with PCOS?
Have you recently gained weight?
2) Blood tests
A sample of your blood will be taken to assess the levels of hormones like androgen in it, check high blood sugar levels, and high blood pressure.
An ultrasound is performed in order to internally assess any abnormal growth in your uterus, ovaries, or pelvic by imagery.
A woman with PCOS will usually have cysts on her ovaries that are enlarged by twice or thrice their original size.
A transvaginal ultrasound is carried out if you are sexually active. This procedure is painless and is not harmful as it does not utilize radiations.
A pen with a sensor on is the tip is inserted into the vagina and it gives a clear image for the doctor to examine.
This is an external imaging procedure where the ovaries are viewed through the abdominal wall.
Recognizing that one has PCOS is very difficult due to varying and numerous symptoms. In addition, most women do not have typical or even identical symptoms.
There are surveys that are quite efficient in giving you a brief idea if you are suffering from PCOS or not.
The condition can only be diagnosed, tested and confirmed only by a doctor who will give you further guidance.
When to Take the Test
Symptoms of PCOS
If one is facing any symptoms listed below, it is important to consult a doctor and get tested for PCOS.
Irregular or stoppage of periods
Abnormal low sex drive
Difficulty getting pregnant
Excessive hair growth on the face, chest or back
Thinning hair and hair loss
Excessive acne that is unresponsive
Sudden mood swings, anxiety or depression
Skin darkening in the folds of the neck, upper thigh or below the breasts.
Testing for PCOS while on Birth Control
If you are taking oral contraceptives then the procedure for assessment and examination might be different. This is because blood tests are usually performed to test the abnormal levels of hormones in your body.
However, when you take contraceptive pills, it interferes with the levels of hormones in your body. Thus, checking the levels of hormones in your body will not give an accurate result or conclusion.
You must contact your health care advisor who will guide you on the further steps to be taken before getting tested. Women are often advised to quit taking their oral contraceptives for a certain amount of time before they are examined.
Birth control pills affect normal hormone levels, Credit: Wikimedia commons
If you are tested positive for PCOS, the doctor will work through a couple of life changes that will have to be made. Luckily, PCOS is highly treatable and with the problem management plans, you could significantly reduce your symptoms and prevent any complications.
The main focus of this management is to regulate menstrual periods, increase insulin sensitivity, and control excessive increase in acne, hair growth, and body weight to due abnormal levels of hormones.