Thinking about trying the PCOS Biology Kit? In this article, we’ll walk you through qualifications you should screen for to make sure it’s right for you.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common female endocrine disorder affecting one out of ten women of reproductive age. The root cause of PCOS stems from within the ovaries when testosterone doesn’t convert to estrogen. The inability to transform testosterone to estrogen results in the body creating more testosterone to convert, but not quite catching up to the estrogen levels needed. This cycle leaves excess testosterone in a woman’s body and is the reason women with PCOS often have lower estrogen levels.
Over time this hormonal imbalance doesn’t stop at affecting a woman’s reproductive function only but impacts the whole body — from the metabolism, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the gut, the skin, and the mind.
To get a diagnosis, a woman must have 2 out of the 3 criteria:
- Above average levels of androgens hormones including DHEA, testosterone, and/or androstenedione.
- Ovarian dysfunction including, lack of ovulation or less frequent ovulation.
- Polycystic ovaries as seen on an ultrasound.
Most Common PCOS Symptoms
The top most referenced symptoms related to PCOS can be noticeable right from the first period or developed over time and progress without treatment. However, most women only take note when they struggle to lose excess weight or begin to consider fertility timing and their options or struggle to start a family. These symptoms outlined below will give you a better idea of what to look for.
- Irregular Menstruation: When there’s a lack of ovulation, the uterine lining won’t shed every month. Therefore, women with PCOS will have less than eight periods in a year or sometimes none at all.
- Heavy Bleeding: Due to irregular menstruation, the uterine lining builds up for a long while. As a result, your period can be heavier than normal.
- Excess Hair Growth: Another name for this is hirsutism and is common in women with PCOS. Over 70% of women with PCOS grow hair on their face, back, chest, belly, and other body parts.
- Weight gain: Although PCOS is not the only cause of weight gain, this is one of the top symptoms. Women with PCOS are usually overweight or suffer from obesity.
- Acne: The skin becomes even oilier than it typically is, which usually leads to a breakout. Some places where acne appears are the chest, upper back, face, and more.
- Baldness: Another symptom is thinning hair on your scalp. In severe cases, women can experience breakage, clumps of fall out which may lead to baldness.
- Darker Skin: Another symptom of PCOS is that dark skin patches begin to form in the groin, underneath the breast, and on the neck.
- Insulin Resistance: Insulin sensitivity causes women to develop higher testosterone and are at risk for developing obesity, heart diseases, hypertension, and more.
Do You Have PCOS?
It’s important to note your symptoms as you investigate whether you have PCOS or not, but not self-diagnose. Many other conditions can look like PCOS that only a doctor can eliminate. If your doctor can’t find other causes for your symptoms and you meet the diagnostic criteria detailed above, only then can you safely assume you have PCOS.
If you haven’t received a diagnosis and are searching for answers, you’re not alone. The PCOS Biology Kit is the first step to learning about your body and getting a diagnosis. Women with PCOS gain a deeper understanding of their symptoms, balancing hormones, preventing future disease, and regaining health. In most cases, these lab results are the supporting piece to the puzzle that starts the conversation with their doctor.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with PCOS, it’s important to regularly track your hormones over time to maintain balance and overall health. The PCOS Biology Kit can help you stay on track with your treatment plan and symptom management between doctor visits.
Still unsure? Take our PCOS Biology Quiz to see if it’s the right fit for you!