PCOS or polycystic ovarian cancer occurs in about 5 to 10 percent of the woman population during their reproductive ages. PCOS is a hormonal issue. The abnormal levels of hormones cause small cysts to appear in the ovaries. Eventually, this might affect your fertility. Symptoms of PCOS are menstrual irregularities, obesity, dandruff, oily skin, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, skin discoloration, etc.
Since most of the symptoms are not profound and irregularities in the menstrual cycle might result for a number of reasons, PCOS diagnosis is quite confusing for even the most trained physicians. In fact, it is also seen that the presence of cysts might not be related with PCOS at all.
Since manifestations of the side effects of PCOS are also varied, patients instead of going to a gynecologist might end up seeing a family physician for weight loss or a dermatologist for curing oily skin problems.
Furthermore, the symptoms of PCOS start changing over time. During teenage years some patients might suffer from hirsutism until after they realize that they have become infertile.
When PCOS diagnosis is done
PCOS diagnosis is difficult to perform. There are different symptoms that need to be examined together to ultimately perform the test that is specific to PCOS. Moreover, symptoms in two women suffering from PCOS can be entirely different. However, diagnosis is done if the woman has irregular periods or absent periods. This means that ovulation is not occurring properly.
PCOS diagnosis methods
Complete pelvic and physical examination is done in PCOS diagnosis. In such examinations, signs of abnormal hair growth (specifically on face, lower abdomen and chest or back) are investigated. The physician also looks for symptoms such as male pattern baldness, acne and skin tags, thick and darkened skills in armpits, thighs, neck and vulva.
Again, detailed investigation is carried out of the patient’s menstrual period and its length, when they occur or gaps between two menstrual periods.
In this procedure, a probe is placed within the vagina, for diagnosing abnormalities in the reproductive organ. With the help of this ultrasound probe, it is also possible to measure the thickness of the wall of the endometrium. Since cystic ovaries do not necessarily mean that the person is suffering from PCOS, because symptoms of hyperandrogenism might not be present or the cyst might be caused due to other reasons, it is important to carry out other tests.
Tests are performed on the components of the blood. Hormonal examination is done, including evaluation of the testosterone levels. Besides testosterone, other hormone level tests are also done, like Follicle Stimulating Hormone, prolactin and Lutenizing Hormone. Insulin resistance and Anti-Mullerian Hormone level tests are done too.
PCOS diagnosis is also done by carrying out endometrial biopsy. Risks of cancer are quite high if the interval between two periods is long. Hence, one should perform a biopsy. The procedure is painless and only a small amount of tissue is required to be removed and analyzed.