Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is a complex condition that requires a thorough evaluation, including a physical exam, medical history, and certain blood tests. The diagnosis of PCOS is based on the presence of several clinical and laboratory features. Some of the blood work that confirms PCOS include:
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is also produced in small amounts by women in the ovaries. Women with PCOS tend to have higher-than-normal levels of testosterone. An elevated level of testosterone can cause acne, excessive hair growth, and irregular periods.
2. Luteinizing Hormone (LH):
LH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone. Women with PCOS usually have higher levels of LH than normal. This high level of LH can cause the ovaries to produce more testosterone, which can lead to irregular menstruation, infertility, and hirsutism (excess hair growth).
3. Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH):
FSH is another hormone produced by the pituitary gland that regulates the female menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS typically have lower levels of FSH than normal. This hormonal imbalance disrupts the normal menstrual cycle and can cause infertility.
4. Glucose and Insulin:
Women with PCOS often develop insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps the cells in the body absorb glucose from the bloodstream. An abnormal response to glucose tolerance tests and elevated insulin levels may indicate insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
5. Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH):
TSH is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Women with PCOS are at an increased risk of thyroid dysfunction. Abnormal TSH levels may indicate an underlying thyroid issue.
A diagnosis of PCOS is made based on the presence of certain criteria, including irregular menstrual cycles, elevated levels of testosterone or LH, and the presence of multiple small follicles in the ovaries. Blood tests that confirm PCOS include testosterone, LH, FSH, glucose, insulin, and TSH. However, a thorough evaluation and diagnosis of PCOS require a comprehensive approach including physical examination, medical history, and blood tests. Women with PCOS should seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider to manage this condition effectively.