Do I have PCOS?

You need to see your doctor for assessment to find out if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Diagnosis is based on the Rotterdam Criteria, which states that you must have at least two of the following:

#1. Irregular or anovulatory cycles

This means your period does not come in a regular 21-35 day cycle or you do not ovulate on a monthly basis.

#2. Evidence of high androgens

This includes clinical signs such hirsutism, acne and hair loss, or high blood levels of androgens.

#3. Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound

Twelve or more cysts are seen on each ovary during a pelvic ultrasound. These ‘cysts’ are actually follicles that contain underdeveloped eggs. If you have 12 or more underdeveloped follicles, it usually means that an egg will not be released that cycle; instead egg growth will be arrested and all the follicles will recede.

But all is not lost.

Your ovaries get a fresh go at ovulating the next month.  This is why they don’t remain cystic in appearance all the time, and the first two criteria alone are adequate for diagnosis.

Your doctor should also exclude other endocrine disorders before giving you a diagnosis of PCOS. These include adrenal hyperplasia, hyperprolactinemia, Cushing’s syndrome, thyroid disease, ovarian, pituitary or adrenal tumors, premature ovarian failure, hypothalamic amenorrhoea and ovarian hyperthecosis.

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Josephine Cabrall BHSc(NAT) | ATMS
Josephine Cabrall is qualified naturopath specialising in PCOS and hormonal and fertility issues, based out of Melbourne, Australia. Josephine is a fully insured member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS).