Saturday, September 1, 2012

What labs should I have done if I suspect I have PCOS?

PCOS is a lifelong condition. It can be controlled but it can NEVER be cured. So, just like any other health issue, it needs watching.   Transvaginal ultrasounds in addition to bloodwork help determine whats what.
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS you should be getting a yearly checkup. This should include a visit to your OB/GYN for an annual exam, as well as a visit to your primary for a physical and lab tests.
The purpose of these labs are to watch your PCOS and what its doing to your body. Even if you feel your condition is being controlled, either by medications or supplements, you should still have these labs done — just to be sure. PCOS can wreck havoc on your body, causing a number of serious health issues. Take the time to get these values checked, every year.
The following is a list of labs every PCOS’er should have done yearly:
  • Fasting glucose
  • Glucose tolerance test (GTT) *remember, even if these tests come back within normal limits, you can still have insulin resistance*
  • LH (luteinizing hormone)
  • FSH (follicle stimulating hormone)
  • LH/FSH ratio
  • Testosterone – total and free
  • DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate)
  • SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin)
  • Prolactin
  • TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) *this is also an important value as many with PCOS have thyroid issues that go undetected for quite some time. Thyroid conditions tend to have many of the same symptoms as PCOS*
  • Lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides) *extremely important. These values are often high in PCOS’ers and they are what lead to our increased risk of heart disease, and stroke*
This list may seem a bit overwhelming, but many of these tests are done in groups, meaning they don’t need a vial for each individual test. Hormone levels are often grouped together when they’re sent to the lab, as are glucose tests, requiring less blood or individual vials.

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