Women Care

8 Tests To Diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome In Women

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 22 May 2023, Updated on - 16 June 2023

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You’ll be surprised to know that 1 in every 10 women PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterised by multiple fluid-filled sacs (cysts) on the ovaries along with hormonal imbalances. PCOS is also associated with metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, which can lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

While diagnosing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), blood tests play a crucial role in unravelling its complexities. By examining hormone imbalances and metabolic intricacies, these blood tests shed light on PCOS and offer a deeper understanding of its inner workings. 

Blood Tests That May Help Diagnose PCOS

Several blood tests that may help diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) include:

1. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)

FSH helps stimulate the growth and development of follicles in the ovaries. In PCOS, FSH levels may be normal or slightly elevated.

2. Luteinising hormone (LH)

LH helps in triggering ovulation. In PCOS, LH levels may be higher than normal as compared to FSH levels, resulting in an increased LH/FSH ratio.

3. Testosterone

Elevated testosterone (a male hormone) levels can be observed in PCOS. Total testosterone and free testosterone levels may be measured to assess the androgen (male hormone) levels in the body.

4. Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG)

SHBG is a protein that binds to sex hormones, including testosterone. If you have PCOS, SHBG levels would be lower.

5. Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH)

AMH is a marker for ovarian reserve and is often elevated in PCOS. Increased AMH levels can indicate the presence of more, small ovarian follicles.

6. Prolactin

Elevated levels of prolactin, a hormone involved in milk production, may be associated with PCOS. 

7. Glucose and insulin

Insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance are common in PCOS. Fasting blood glucose and insulin levels may be measured to assess metabolic function.

8. Lipid profile

PCOS is often associated with elevated cholesterol levels and triglycerides. A lipid profile can help evaluate cardiovascular risk factors.

It's important to note that the diagnostic criteria for PCOS involve a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and other tests, such as pelvic ultrasound, to assess the ovaries. Additionally, every case can be different, therefore, a healthcare professional is best equipped to determine which specific tests are necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

Symptoms Of PCOS

While the symptoms can vary from person to person, here are some common symptoms:

1. Irregular periods: Women with PCOS may experience infrequent, unpredictable, or prolonged menstrual cycles.

2. Excessive hair growth: It can cause excessive hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, or back (hirsutism). This is often accompanied by thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp.

3. Acne: Many women experience persistent acne or severe outbreaks due to hormonal imbalances.

4. Weight gain: Many women with PCOS may experience weight gain or have difficulty losing weight.

5. Insulin resistance: PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

6. Polycystic ovaries: Women with PCOS may have enlarged ovaries containing multiple small cysts. However, the presence of cysts alone is not sufficient for diagnosis.

7. Mood swings and depression: Hormonal imbalances can contribute to mood swings, irritability, and an increased risk of developing depression.

It's important to note that not all women with PCOS will experience every symptom, and the severity of symptoms can vary.

In conclusion, PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that can significantly impact the lives of women. Blood tests are valuable tools in diagnosing PCOS and provide insights into the hormonal imbalances and metabolic abnormalities associated with the condition. For expert advice,

Consult Apollo’s Expert Gynaecologists


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt


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