Diagnosing PCOS

In 2003 the American Society of Reproductive Medicine as well as the European Society for Reproductive Medicine convened in Rotterdam and came up with criteria to make the diagnosis of PCOS. To diagnose PCOS an individual must have two out of three of the criteria identified:

  • Long or absent cycles
  • Clinical or laboratory evidence of hyperandrogenemia
  • Ultrasound findings of multiple peripheral cysts/increased ovarian volume

Early Diagnosis

PCOS tends to have a familial inheritance pattern, meaning it is more common in families. If you have PCOS and you have a daughter she should be watched closely for evidence of hyperandrogenemia, in particular irregular cycles that do not correct after two years, significant dark hair growth, severe acne and a tendency to gain weight easily.

Long-Term Considerations

Individuals with PCOS are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease as well as endometrial cancer. Lowering insulin, androgen and lipid levels, keeping weight down can greatly reduce the risks of these conditions.

Treatment of PCOS

Treatment of PCOS largely depends on whether the patient is trying to get pregnant or not. If pregnancy is the primary goal, treatment will center around reestablishing regular ovulatory cycles. If infertility is not a concern, therapy will center around lowering insulin, androgen and lipid levels and trying to reach a near normal weight.