Learn how doctors diagnose PCOS. The most commonly used diagnostic criteria for PCOS are the “Rotterdam criteria.” A diagnosis of PCOS may be made when two of the following criteria are present:
Androgen excess. Androgens are hormones produced by both men and women. However, they are present at higher levels in males. Androgen excess in females can cause symptoms such as: hirsutism (abnormal or excessive hair growth) acne androgenic alopecia (male-pattern baldness or hair thinning/loss) weight gain, especially localized around the abdominal area Ovulatory dysfunction. The most common sign of ovulatory dysfunction is irregular menstrual cycles. Frequent bleeding (more often than every 21 days) may be a sign of ovulatory dysfunction. Infrequent bleeding (less often than every 35 days) may also be a sign of ovulatory dysfunction. Polycystic ovaries. The ovaries must be examined by ultrasound. Your doctor will check your ovaries for: Bilateral enlargement (>10 cc) Quantity and size of follicles (generally 12 or more, measuring 2-9 mm) Multiple follicles of similar size Peripheral location of follicles, which can give a string of pearl appearance
Make an appointment to see a doctor. There is no one single test that can confirm a diagnosis of PCOS. Your doctor will need to perform several examinations and tests. Your primary care physician or your gynecologist can usually do basic examinations and tests. He or she may also refer you to a specialist for further testing.
If you have PCOS and are having difficulty conceiving and wish to conceive, you may be referred to see a reproductive endocrinologist. These doctors specialize in treating PCOS with the goal of increasing fertility. If you have PCOS but do not want to conceive or are not having difficulty conceiving, you may be referred to see a medical endocrinologist.
Talk with your doctor about your symptoms. Because PCOS can cause so many symptoms, it is important to tell your physician about all the symptoms you are experiencing. Even if you do not think the symptoms are related, give your doctor a full account of any symptoms you have.
Make sure you also give your doctor a full medical history. Make sure you note if any family members or relatives have a history of diabetes, insulin resistance, or symptoms of androgen excess