Hormone Imbalances, PMS & Acne

PCOS: How To Know If You Have It

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You might be painfully familiar with the term PCOS through having a diagnosis, or maybe you’re wondering if your hormonal symptoms might mean a diagnosis is on the horizon. Either way, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can be a tricky one to navigate.

Because of the complexities and frustrations that can come with PCOS, I wanted to  talk about the symptoms that can indicate you may have it, as well as some of the criteria that must be met to be diagnosed with PCOS. 

Criteria For A PCOS Diagnosis:

The Rotterdam criteria is the most common tool used for diagnosing PCOS, with patients having to tick at least 2 out of the 3 criteria to be diagnosed

  1. Menstrual irregularities – such as an irregular period or the long-term absence of ovulation and/or menstruation, called Amenorrhea
  2. High number of cysts on your ovaries – at least 10 on each ovary at one time (women can have a few cysts without actually having PCOS)
  3. High levels of androgens (male hormones e.g. testosterone) that do not result from any other conditions. 

So, what does this all mean? 

If you’re thinking that your symptoms tick some of these boxes, the good news is that there are clinical tests to either confirm or rule out some of the criteria. 

  • Blood tests: can be a great first step to determining high levels of androgens 
  • Saliva tests: these can be a little pricier, but are known to be very accurate
  • Ultrasound: this is key to determining if any cysts are present and exactly how many

Check out my YouTube videos on PCOS here and here for more in-depth info into the Rotterdam criteria and the process of diagnosing PCOS.

Other signs of PCOS include:

  • Significant weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Low sex drive
  • Constantly hungry or craving high carb, sugary foods
  • Frequent or increased urination
  • Tingling sensations in the hands and feet

But remember, don’t go Googling your symptoms to self-diagnose! 

If you feel a lot of these examples are similar to what you’re experiencing, make an appointment with your doctor and take along a list of your symptoms to discuss. I also recommend pushing for an ultrasound. If you ever feel like you are being medically gaslit, or your symptoms are not being taken seriously, make sure to find another practitioner who will better listen to you and take your concerns seriously.

If you want to educate yourself on your body and your hormones so that you can feel empowered in your doctor’s office, ask better questions, and start seeing results by taking control of your healthcare journey, I recommend joining us inside Balance Your Hormones

Author

I'm Mads - a biologist, naturopath, nutritionist and educator who specialises in helping busy women achieve hormonal balance and symptom relief through science-backed natural approaches

Author

I'm Mads - a scientist, naturopath, nutritionist and educator who specialises in helping busy women achieve hormonal balance and symptom relief through science-backed nutrition and lifestyle approaches

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