Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) are two common endocrine disorders that affect women. Both conditions share similar symptoms, including irregular periods, excessive facial hair growth, obesity, infertility, and difficulty conceiving. While PCOS and PCOD can be diagnosed with a physical exam and patient history, other tests and procedures can be used to diagnose these conditions.
This blog will explore the different tests and procedures used to diagnose PCOS and PCOD. We will also discuss how doctors may use a combination of diagnosis methods to identify these endocrine disorders accurately. Finally, we will review how patients can manage their symptoms and lead healthy lives.
PCOD vs PCOS
Comprehending the distinction between PCOS and PCOD is essential. Both conditions affect a woman’s ability to produce and release eggs. However, they have different underlying causes.
- PCOS is caused by an imbalance of hormones in the body, while an enlarged ovary causes PCOD with many small cysts on its surface.
- Furthermore, PCOS is often linked to insulin resistance and a higher risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, while PCOD is more likely to be associated with other conditions such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.
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Symptoms of PCOD and PCOS
There are several common symptoms associated with PCOS and PCOD. These include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Excessive facial hair growth (known as hirsutism)
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Infertility or difficulty conceiving
- Acne or skin discolouration
- Thinning of scalp hair or baldness in some cases.
- Depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
- Struggling with insulin resistance
Diagnosis of PCOD and PCOS
To diagnose PCOS or PCOD, a doctor will first take a detailed medical history. They may also perform a physical exam and look for signs of hirsutism, weight gain, skin discolouration, and scalp thinning.
The following tests are commonly used to help diagnose these conditions:
- Blood tests
These may include tests for hormone levels (such as testosterone and luteinizing hormone), cholesterol levels, glucose levels (which can indicate diabetes), and lipid levels (which can indicate cardiovascular risk).
- Pelvic ultrasound
This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the ovaries. It is often used to look for cysts on the surface of the ovaries and to rule out other conditions.
- Endometrial biopsy
Through this process, a tiny sample of the uterine lining is taken and examined in a laboratory setting for further analysis. It can help to determine if PCOS or PCOD is causing an irregular menstrual cycle.
- Genetic testing
This type of test looks for genetic variants linked to PCOS or PCOD. It may also be used to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Once these tests are complete, your healthcare professional will be able to make a diagnosis based on all of the information gathered from your medical history, exam results, and any test results. In some cases, they may also advise you to consult a specialist for further evaluation.
Other Diagnostic Procedures
Healthcare professionals may sometimes use additional tests and procedures to diagnose PCOS or PCOD. These include:
This sophisticated operation utilizes a thin, illuminated tube to inspect the abdomen for any potential cysts on your ovaries.
- CT scan or MRI
These imaging tests provide detailed images of the reproductive organs and can help confirm the diagnosis.
- Health screening tests
Your doctor may recommend that you have blood tests done to check your cholesterol level, glucose level, and other important health markers. This is especially important if you are at risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Management of PCOS and PCOD
The best way to manage PCOS or PCOD is to work closely with your healthcare professional. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, they may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery.
- Lifestyle changes
These can include healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, reducing stress levels, quitting smoking, and limiting or avoiding alcohol.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to help regulate your hormone levels and reduce symptoms such as excessive hair growth, acne, or irregular menstrual cycles. Sometimes, they may also recommend fertility treatments if you have difficulty conceiving.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove cysts on the ovaries or uterus.
PCOS and PCOD are common yet complex conditions that can trigger various symptoms. Diagnosing these two diseases is not easy, so it’s vital to collaborate with your healthcare provider to find the most suitable way to determine and manage them accurately. Fortunately, by making lifestyle changes, taking medications when needed or getting surgery (if necessary), you can cope with either health issue while achieving an improved quality of life afterwards!