PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Scan
PCOS Scans in Dublin.
We perform scans that can help diagnose PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Exam Time: 20-30 minutes
Exam Price: €160.00 (Medical card: €140.00)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: What You Need to Know
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a set of symptoms due to elevated androgens (male hormones) in females. Signs and symptoms include irregular or no menstrual periods, heavy periods, excess body and facial hair, acne, pelvic pain and difficulty getting pregnant. All of these are symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
There are also associated conditions such as obesity, sleep apnea, heart disease and mood disorders.
What is PCOS?
PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is an endocrine disorder that affects women between the ages of 18 and 44 years of age. It affects 2% to 20% of this age group depending on how it is defined. It is one of the leading causes of fertility issues.
What role do hormones play in PCOS?
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They travel from place to place within the body via the bloodstream and give orders to most major systems. Hormones control everything from hunger to reproduction.
Ovaries produce oestrogen and progesterone some of our essential hormones. They also produce a small amount of testosterone.If you have really high insulin levels all the time it causes the ovaries to produce too much testosterone. That’s what happens in PCOS, a woman’s body creates too many androgens (male hormones). Though all women produce a small amount of androgens, the excess supply that accompanies PCOS interferes with the function of the ovaries. The ovaries may stop releasing eggs (ovulating), or release them infrequently. Most women with PCOS develop many tiny cysts on their ovaries, hence the name Polycystic ovary syndrome.
What causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
PCOS is due to a possible combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some risk factors include:
Obesity:Increased BMI and not enough exercise
Heredity: Although your tendencies can have a lot to do with heredity you were not born with PCOS. PCOS is a condition that develops due to your environment interacting with your genes. Your environment includes what you eat, stress levels, environmental toxins to name a few.
Excess Insulin: Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin. When the body becomes insulin resistant it means the cells become resistant to insulin and are unable to use it effectively leading to high blood sugar. Insulin resistance and PCOS often occur together. Even small changes in blood glucose can be a sign of insulin resistance. Insulin is our storage hormone. If we have an excess our body stores glucose in our muscle and liver cells. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. If you have really high insulin all the time it causes the ovaries to produce more testosterone. This excess testosterone gets into hair follicles and can make hair fall out and can get into our glands and cause acne. Increased testosterone can also suppress ovulation.
Inflammation: Inflammation occurs when the white blood cells are called into action to fight infection. Many women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation. It’s is believed that this inflammation may also cause the ovaries to produce excess androgens.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
No single test is used to diagnose PCOS. Your doctor may perform a variety of tests and procedures to rule out other possibilities and provide you with a diagnosis.
- A physical exam: Your doctor will examine your skin for skin tags, discoloration, excess hair, and acne – all symptoms of PCOS. He or she will also weigh you and check to see if your Body Mass Index is appropriate for your age.
- A pelvic exam: Your doctor may perform a pelvic exam to determine if your ovaries are enlarged.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can determine the level of androgens in your body and glucose levels.. Blood tests can also be used to check for diabetes, and rule out other issues such as thyroid dysfunction, that may be causing your symptoms.
- Pelvic ultrasound: A pelvic ultrasound is the gold standard for the diagnosis of PCOS in conjunction with blood work. Some patients with PCOS have normal appearing ovaries on an ultrasound and some have polycystic ovaries without having the syndrome.
Complications of PCOS
In addition to unpleasant symptoms such as thinning hair, excess facial, chest, and back hair, weight gain, dark patches of skin, skin tags, and heavy or irregular periods, PCOS can lead to more serious complications. These include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (liver inflammation caused by the accumulation of fat in the liver)
- Endometrial cancer
- Depression and anxiety
PCOS and Pregnancy
Though PCOS can make pregnancy difficult, it is one of the most treatable forms of infertility in women. The hormonal imbalance that occurs with PCOS interferes with the growth and release of eggs. Many women with PCOS do not ovulate, and therefore cannot become pregnant on their own. Treatments are available to help you ovulate and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Treatment of PCOS
There is no cure for PCOS. However, treatments exist to manage the symptoms.
- Hormonal birth control can make periods more regular, lower the risk of endometrial cancer, and improve acne and reduce extra body hair
- Anti-androgen medicines can reduce body hair, help with thinning hair on the head, and reduce acne
- Metformin and clomiphene can improve fertility
In addition, losing excess weight (though it can be difficult with PCOS) can reduce many PCOS symptoms and even improve your chances of becoming pregnant.
For appointments or for more information about PCOS, Contact Us Today or call 01 210 0232