PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS) is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. The ovaries contain small cysts which are not harmful. These cysts prevent women from ovulating and getting pregnant.
Irregular periods have been a problem all my life. It can go from 2 to 3 months of not having it. For me, it was not a problem. It was a convenience. I wouldn’t have to deal with it on a monthly basis.
Fast forward, I got married. And we started trying to get pregnant.
The weeks turned to months. The months turned to years. We are not pregnant. We tried everything from supplements, positioning, etc.Nothing happened. Frustration was starting to build up. We have begun blaming it to stress from work.
And to make things worse for us, most of our friends started getting pregnant consecutively. We got invited to baby showers; gender reveal party and kid’s birthday party. “When are you going to have a baby?”. “Are you pregnant yet?”.These are the questions we need to deal with every time. It became exhausting to the point that we stopped going to those parties. Then we knew we had to do something.
It was time to see the DOCTOR.
We started with my Ob-gyn, who referred us to an endocrinologist. We met up with the endocrinologist, and she was very thorough. She explained the process and the tests we need to go through.
Every individual is different, and every medical practitioner has their methods. The list below are the tests I went through to be diagnosed with PCOS. Sources for normal range values below are Medscape and MedlinePlus.
She started with our comprehensive medical history. This is where I told her about my irregular menstrual cycle.
My husband produced a sample for analysis. His result came back favorable. Now, on to me.
They checked my height, weight, blood pressure, breast, skin, and hair.
This test is done to check for any mass or abnormalities.
They check for any hormonal imbalance focusing on androgen hormones. Androgen is a male hormone which causes excess hair, acne or skin discoloration.
HCG(Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). Test to make sure you are not pregnant
Cholesterol and Triglyceride. Unhealthy levels causes hormonal imbalance
Testosterone. High levels block ovulation and cause acne, male-type hair growth on the face and body. My free testosterone was 1.4nmOL(normal range 0.52-2.43nmOL) and serum was 46nmOL(15-70 ng/dL)
Prolactin. Decreased amount of prolactin causes irregular or lack of menstrual cycle. I had a slightly elevated result which was 26.39 ng/ml. My endocrinologist said that the high level was caused by not fasting. They had to recheck it.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone(TSH). Produces hormones T3 and T4 which according to my doctor regulates metabolism. I had 3.13mcIU. My doctor said that ideally, the value should be <2mcIU.
Leutenizing hormone(LH). This hormone regulates ovulation. My blood work showed 10.0 mIU which was within the normal range.
Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). This test measures for androgen levels in my blood. My value was 240 ng/dL(normal range 45-270 ng/dL)
The sonographer uses a wand-like device called a transducer into the vagina which transmits images to the computer. It showed complex cysts on my left ovary and follicles measuring from 3mm to 4mm. The thickness of my endometrium was right which was 8.32mm.
The blood work showed I am at the borderline and the ultrasound confirmed the cysts. Taking these two into consideration and along with my menstrual dysfunction, I have mild PCOS. This condition is preventing me from ovulation and conception. The news was heartbreaking, but the good news is we have options. Life isn’t fair, but that does not keep us from trying.
How about you, how were you diagnosed with PCOS?