If your periods are irregular, a pregnancy test should be done.
Changes in the growth pattern of your hair or the development of acne may be enough for your doctor to determine that you have a high level of androgen (testosterone) hormones. If not, blood tests can detect high androgen levels. A blood test may also be used to check the level of prolactin, which is a hormone produced in the brain's pituitary gland. Very high prolactin levels can be caused by a pituitary gland tumor, and this problem can cause symptoms that resemble those of polycystic ovary syndrome.
As long as other causes of your symptoms have been excluded, your doctor will diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome if you have high androgen levels plus infrequent or absent menstrual periods. Many doctors will check the levels of other sex hormones that are affected as a result of this condition, including luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, to be more certain about the diagnosis. Some doctors may choose to look at your ovaries using ultrasound, especially if the ovaries feel enlarged during your pelvic examination. An ultrasound test is likely to show multiple cysts in the ovary, but this test is not necessary for your doctor to make a diagnosis. The test also can be misleading. Some women have all the typical hormone abnormalities of this condition, but their ovaries have not developed cysts. The diagnosis and treatment for these women is no different.
Because of the increased risk of diabetes and heart disease that goes along with this condition, it is very important to have your blood sugar and your cholesterol tested periodically. The American Diabetes Association suggests that people with this condition should have their blood sugar tested every two years.
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