Getting a Diagnosis When You Suspect PCOS
Getting a diagnosis when you suspect that you may have PCOS can seem daunting.
Here are the steps you need to take in order find out whether or not you have PCOS:
- Find a specialized doctor, a PCOS specialist per say.
- Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and request to get tested.
- Be your own advocate! If you feel that your symptoms strongly match the diagnostic criteria and your doctor says that you do not have PCOS, then get a second opinion.
Find a PCOS Specialist
The practitioner/doctor that one would see to be diagnosed with PCOS would usually be a GYN or gynecologist, a doctor that specializes in women’s health. The practitioner could also be general practitioner (GP) or endocrinologist (a doctor that specializes in treating diseases related to improper hormone regulation and/or diabetes). I would recommend going to see a specialist, either a GYN or an endocrinologist to get treatment and a diagnosis, unless you have a great relationship with your GP. I had to see several docs in order to get a diagnosis. Though I had all of the criteria and fit the diagnosis to a T, my original doctor did not know much about the syndrome at the time. I now see an endocrinologist cannot stress to you how important it is to find a doctor that you trust. Having an open relationship with your doctor, one where you can discuss your condition and ask questions without feeling judged or rushed through your appointment is CRITICAL in the management of your PCOS.
I’ve been to enough doctors with crappy bedside manners to know that the great ones are few and far between, but they are out there! Once you find a great one you will be happy you went through the effort of finding him/her because your treatment will never be the same.
Once you find a doctor, get tested.
In order to get a PCOS diagnosis, your doctor must see that both the visible symptoms (see symptoms in this post) and the lab values match the diagnostic criteria. A specific number of the clinical or biochemical symptoms MUST match the criteria in order for you to get the diagnosis. You cannot get treatment for the condition until you get the diagnosis. We are expected to wait until our PCOS gets to the point our symptoms are essentially visible to the naked eye in order to get that diagnosis. Does this seem fair?!
There are a few lab tests that I would specifically recommend getting (I will talk about this in a later post). Once your tests are in, you will hopefully have a diagnosis! If not, I would strongly recommend going to get a second or even third opinion if necessary. Be your own advocate because this is YOUR health and no one else will stand up for your body and your health except for YOU. If it’s not PCOS, it could be a condition such as Hashimoto’s or Cushing’s, both of which require treatment.
Once you have a diagnosis, you can begin talking to your doctor about treatment options!