Woman with PCOS

Why is PCOS So Hard to Diagnose?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder. It can cause pain, irregular periods, fertility problems, weight gain, raised testosterone levels, and insulin resistance, among other issues. Even though this is a serious medical condition that affects between five and 10 percent of women in their childbearing years, it’s often misdiagnosed or not discovered properly. Some women deal with the problems it creates for years before being properly diagnosed.

One of the reasons that PCOS can be hard to diagnose is that many of the symptoms it causes can also be caused by other conditions. Irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, for example, can be caused by bleeding disorders, polyps, some medications, or uterine fibroids, along with several additional medical problems. However, if you’re experiencing PCOS symptoms, which might also include acne and facial hair, it’s important to keep working with your doctor to get a diagnosis.

There’s no universal test for PCOS, which is another reason it can be difficult for women with this condition to get properly diagnosed. Doctors typically use the symptoms you’re experiencing as a guideline, and if you have the most common symptoms you’re more likely to have the condition. There are tests that can potentially rule out other reasons for those symptoms, and if those tests don’t show any problems then your doctor may decide you have PCOS.

A physical exam, patient history, the symptoms you’re having, an ultrasound, a pelvic exam, and blood test results can all be used together to make a better determination of whether you have PCOS. Still, not every doctor will make that diagnosis, especially if you don’t have the most common symptoms of it, or if you have other medical issues that could be the cause of the problems you’re experiencing.

If you have PCOS symptoms and aren’t getting help from your medical provider, it’s important for you to keep advocating for yourself. That could mean seeing another care provider, asking for more tests, and keeping careful track of your symptoms to provide additional detail when you have medical appointments. While there’s no current cure for PCOS, having the right diagnosis can make it easier to start treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you feel better.

 At The Fertility Institute of San Diego, our practice philosophy is to treat each patient as we would our own family members. We know you are special, so we treat you as such. We take great pride in being a boutique practice, where a single doctor who knows everything about your case treats you. Dr. Hosseinzadeh is there for every visit and will perform all your ultrasounds and procedures, including egg retrievals and embryo transfers. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary virtual consultation today!

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