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Detecting PCOS and Ovarian Cysts

Updated on May 29, 2012

Diagnosing PCOS

How do I know if I have it?

If you are a woman between the ages 11 and 45, and have been suffering from any of the symptoms of PCOS, you should speak with your doctor immediately. Keep in mind that a lot of these symptoms correlate with other conditions as well. If you have PCOS You might experience some, or all of these symptoms. There is no one test to determine if you have PCOS, but your doctor will probably do some or all of the following: Vaginal Ultrasound, Abdominal ultrasound, biopsy of the ovary, a laparoscopy, or blood tests to check your estrogen levels, fasting glucose and insulin levels, FSH levels, LH levels, and testosterone levels.

What is PCOS?

What is it? PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a common female endocrine disorder that affects nearly 10% of all women ages 11-45. PCOS has been linked to numerous health concerns including diabetes, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance. Symptoms of PCOS include small cysts on the ovaries which can prevent you from ovulating, obesity, amenorrhea or excessive menstrual bleeding,severe pain, acne, and excessive amounts or effects of androgenic (male) hormones, facial hair (above the lip or on the chin) and an inability to lose weight through conventional dieting.

PCOS is still a highly misunderstood disorder, and there is still a lot of research to be done. This is one area in women's health care that we are definitely lacking in knowledge of.

The symptoms are not the same for all women, and women with PCOS may experience all or none of the symptoms.

Blood tests are one step in detecting PCOS.
Blood tests are one step in detecting PCOS.

Treating PCOS

How do I get rid of it? There is no cure for PCOS, and most solutions for PCOS only treat the symptoms. If you are not trying to conceive your doctor may put you on birth control, if you are insulin resistant your doctor might prescribe Metformin, and if you are not ovulating and you are trying to conceive your doctor might prescribe you Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid).

If you are obese and suffer from PCOS, losing weight is one of the best ways to lower the symptoms and side effects. Although women with PCOS often struggle to lose weight due to insulin resistance, it is possible with hard work and continuous effort. Some women who struggle with losing weight due to PCOS find great success by following a low GI diet. This is probably due to the insulin resistance.

Causes of PCOS

How did I get it?

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity are all strongly related with PCOS. Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have PCOS, and studies have linked PCOS with insulin resistance. Studies have also showed that there is a strong genetic tendency towards PCOS so if your mother or sister suffer from PCOS, your chances dramatically increase. 


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