Atlantic Endocrinology New York City

How do doctors check pcos?

You’re grappling with symptoms like irregular periods, unexplained weight fluctuations, and perhaps persistent skin issues. These concerns may point towards a condition you’ve come across in hushed tones – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The journey to uncovering this diagnosis might seem like navigating through a foggy labyrinth of medical appointments and tests.

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However, understanding the steps that healthcare professionals take to dissect the intricacies of PCOS can transform this path into a more manageable journey. Let’s clarify the diagnostic procedures, arming you with the knowledge to confidently steer through the process of diagnosis and subsequent management.

Deciphering PCOS: Recognizing Symptoms and Health Implications

PCOS, impacting around 10% of women, manifests as a hormonal imbalance characterized by inconsistent menstrual cycles, elevated levels of androgens (male hormones), and the development of ovarian cysts. Beyond these primary indicators, the syndrome might also present additional symptoms such as weight gain, excessive hair growth, and fertility challenges. Recognizing these signs early is vital, as PCOS can escalate the risk of chronic health issues like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer. Hence, comprehending how medical professionals assess PCOS is the first step in taking charge of your health journey.

Commencing the Diagnostic Process: Consultation and Preliminary Steps

Suspecting PCOS? Initiating a dialogue with your general practitioner or a specialized endocrinologist is the recommended first move. In this initial interaction, expect to delve into a thorough discussion about your symptoms, encompassing the regularity and nature of your menstrual cycles, any fluctuations in your weight, and any other health anomalies you’ve observed. Maintaining a detailed log of your menstrual patterns and any pertinent past medical occurrences can be incredibly beneficial during this phase. Your healthcare provider will engage in this conversation with a keen focus, seeking to gather nuanced insights into your health status and potential signs of PCOS.

Physical Examination: What’s Involved

Subsequent to the initial consultation, a physical examination is generally the next course of action. This involves routine checks of your blood pressure, weight, and Body Mass Index (BMI). Additionally, a detailed examination of your pelvic region and breasts may be conducted to identify any physical manifestations of hormonal imbalances or related symptoms of PCOS.

Delving Deeper: Hormonal Assessments and Blood Tests

Blood tests are integral to the PCOS diagnostic protocol. These tests are designed to measure the levels of several hormones, including androgens such as testosterone, as well as insulin and various sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Analyzing the dynamics of these hormones offers crucial insights into your hormonal ecosystem and assists in determining the likelihood of PCOS.

Ultrasound Imaging: Insights into Ovarian Health

Ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive procedure employed to examine the ovaries. This technique enables doctors to evaluate the size, structure, and overall appearance of the ovaries, specifically searching for cysts, which are frequently associated with PCOS. While the detection of cysts alone doesn’t confirm a PCOS diagnosis, their presence, combined with other test outcomes, plays a significant role in completing the diagnostic jigsaw.

Formulating a Diagnosis: Navigating the Criteria

The Rotterdam criteria are commonly employed by medical professionals to diagnose PCOS. This framework considers various factors such as menstrual irregularities, elevated androgen levels, and the existence of ovarian cysts as observed through ultrasound. It’s crucial to note that not all criteria must be met for a PCOS diagnosis; your healthcare provider will consider the collective evidence from your reported symptoms, physical examinations, and test results before arriving at a conclusion.

Post-Diagnosis: Pathways to Managing PCOS

While receiving a diagnosis of PCOS might feel overwhelming, it’s essential to remember that you’re not navigating this alone. Your healthcare provider will collaborate with you to formulate a bespoke management plan. This plan might encompass lifestyle modifications, dietary and exercise recommendations, medication to balance hormones, and potentially fertility treatments if you’re encountering conception challenges. It’s important to recognize that PCOS is a manageable condition. With the right guidance and care, you can lead a healthful and fulfilling life.


Embarking on the journey to a PCOS diagnosis might appear daunting initially, but arming yourself with an understanding of the diagnostic procedures instills confidence and empowerment. Timely diagnosis is instrumental in effectively managing PCOS and ensuring a wholesome life. If you have concerns or symptoms suggestive of PCOS, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for tailored advice and support. Take proactive steps towards your health, and remember, the power to navigate PCOS and embrace a brighter future lies in your hands.