Polycystic ovarian syndrome, most commonly known as PCOS affects about 10 percent of Indian women, experts claim - so you’re not alone. It is a hormonal disorder that causes ovaries that are enlarged with small cysts that form on the outer edges.
There are different signs and symptoms that accompany PCOS; a symptom being something that is experienced by you, while a sign is something that is detected by your physician. Not every woman that has PCOS has every one of its symptoms, therefore, not every woman's experience is the same.
A diagnosis of a disease is based on both signs and symptoms - both of which are dependent on each other. You need the help of a doctor as well as your experience of your symptoms in order to get to a conclusion - a diagnosis. This shows the importance of being aware of your symptoms and knowing when it’s time to see a physician.
A criteria - a standard - is what is used to decide on the diagnosis of PCOS. It can be made if two of the three criteria are met. The three criteria are the following:
- Polycystic ovaries: 12 or more follicles are visible on one ovary or the size of one or both ovaries is increased.
- Menstrual dysfunction: Lack of periods or irregular periods and lack of ovulation
- Hyperandrogenism: High levels of male hormones called androgens which result in symptoms of excess facial or body hair growth, loss of hair from your scalp and acne.
Even if you have regular periods, or normal androgen levels, you can be diagnosed with PCOS - hence emphasizing on the fact that women experience different symptoms. There are a number of conditions that could cause similar symptoms of menstrual irregularity which needs to be ruled out by a physician, so then comes the question - when do you need to see a doctor?
If you experience any of the symptoms above - then you should see a doctor. The importance of tests is critical in this case. Here are a few tests that are done in order to rule out any other condition along with testing for PCOS.
Before giving a diagnosis, a medical history along with a detailed examination is conducted. Physical symptoms will also be assessed along with checking weight and BMI index.
An ultrasound of the uterus, ovaries and pelvis will be done in order to check for any cysts that might be present on the ovaries or whether either ovary is increased in size. This is a completely painless procedure and gives a clearer picture of the condition.
Hormonal blood tests are also used to test the amount of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) present in the body. This will indicate if you suffer from hyperandrogenism which is a fancy way of saying ‘too much androgen’. The blood tests will also be able to detect if there is an increase or decrease of other reproductive hormones in your body that could be affecting your menstruation cycle.
The reason why it is very important to conduct these tests if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above is because PCOS is a condition that causes various hormonal disturbances which should be treated. Not to mention, they are other health conditions that can cause your hormones to go haywire so ruling them out is important as well.
It’s important to note that you should never self-medicate or self-diagnose – only take medical treatment that has been prescribed by a dermatologist. To learn more the symptoms of PCOS and how they can be treated, you can consult with a certified dermatologist with Remedico from wherever you are, from your smartphone. We will send you a personalised treatment plan within 24 hours.