How is PCOS diagnosed?
PCOS is diagnosed by the inclusion of any two of the parameters above, along with exclusion of other diseases that would present with similar findings.
There is no single test or symptom that would indicate that a person has the disease, but the diagnosis of PCOS is made by a combination of symptoms and blood testing.
It can be associated with other diseases, such as thyroid disease and elevated prolactin hormone levels (the hormone that makes the breast milk). Women should be tested for the presence of these disorders if they have PCOS type symptoms.
Additionally, PCOS patients are at an increased risk for pre-diabetic conditions that can be diagnosed by an elevated insulin level and/or elevated glucose level (glucose intolerance) or even may have diabetes at the time of the diagnosis of this condition.
It is therefore very important to screen patients for diabetes at the time of diagnosis of PCOS. Patients who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for having or developing diabetes in the future.
Surgical treatment of PCOS
Surgical treatment of PCOS involves destruction of some of the ovarian tissue (laparoscopic ovarian stromal cauterization) to allow ovulation and regular menstrual cycles.
This type of treatment is no longer preferred because of the high success rate with the medical approach.
In some cases, surgical approach can be useful, but this type of treatment should be individualized.
Surgical treatment does not improve metabolic parameters (such as elevated insulin or glucose levels) and also does not decrease the risk of diabetes.
Weight loss and exercise should be routinely recommended to patients with PCOS because most patients tend to be overweight or obese.
Weight loss of 10-15% of the body weight is sufficient enough to allow ovulation in most cases.
Additionally, the risk of developing diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease also significantly decreases with weight loss and establishment of normal weight.