Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Symptoms and Diagnosis

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Symptoms and Diagnosis (<i>cont'd</i>)

Hormonal disorders are complex, and symptoms often suggest more than one potential cause. The diagnostic process likely will include a thorough physical and history to check for hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome and tumors. While there is no test for PCOS, a health care professional may want to measure your blood levels of the following:

  • Thyroid hormone (symptoms of low thyroid function are often similar to those of PCOS)
  • Prolactin (high levels of this hormone, which stimulates milk production, often results in irregular or absent menses similar to those of PCOS)
  • Androgens, including dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and testosterone (high levels of these hormones, often referred to as “male hormones,” are frequently associated with PCOS and cause “male-like” symptoms such as excess body or facial hair)
  • Level of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone (a high ratio of LH to FSH — typically three-to-one — is characteristic of PCOS; follicle stimulating hormone promotes the development of egg-containing follicles in the ovaries, while luteinizing hormone stimulates ovulation, follicle rupture, and encourages the empty follicle to convert to progesterone production.)

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