As Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a very common reproductive disorder that affects the fertility of many of our patients, we remain at the leading edge of medical advances in this area. Our Center for PCOS, led by Dr. Laurence Jacobs, ensures that our patients receive the highest quality fertility evaluation and treatment from every member of our staff. All of our Fertility Centers of Illinois Physicians are specialized in PCOS, as well as other infertility diagnoses.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries contain many follicle cysts due to a hormone imbalance and less frequent ovulation. PCOS has a range of variable and subtle symptoms that can have negative implications for fertility and/or general health.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
- Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
- Infrequent or absent ovulation
- Ovarian follicle cysts
- Excessive hair growth on the face, arms, chest, or abdomen
- Obesity or weight gain
- Thinning hair
Who Should Be Tested for PCOS?
PCOS is found among all ethnicities of women, but is more common in Hispanic women, with an incidence rate of 13-14 percent compared to 5 percent in caucasian women. However, any woman who has one or more of the symptoms should consider PCOS evaluation by a reproductive endocrinologist or an experienced obstetrician/gynecologist. Since PCOS can have confusing signs and symptoms, the diagnosis may be unclear in young women not trying to get pregnant, especially if they are interested in regulating menstrual cycles with medications, such as birth control pills. In addition, there is no single test to definitively diagnose PCOS. Experienced obstetricians/ gynecologists and reproductive endocrinologists, who have more expertise in comprehensive endocrine evaluations, may be better suited for PCOS investigations and able to offer more treatment options.
What Is the PCOS Screening Process?
PCOS testing must be performed within the first five days of your menstrual cycle. Contact the Fertility Centers of Illinois Patient Services Team on the first day of your menstrual cycle or the next business day to schedule your PCOS screening. For patients with irregular or absent menstrual cycles, PCOS screening can be scheduled at any time.
During that appointment, you will:
- Complete a brief questionnaire and have your Body Mass Index (BMI) evaluated
- Have blood drawn to evaluate your hormone and glucose levels, as well as other factors associated with PCOS
- Receive blood pressure screening
- Receive a transvaginal ultrasound to visualize your ovaries
Within one week of the PCOS screening appointment, patients will:
- Receive the results of their screening, including physician’s evaluation and treatment recommendation
- Should the PCOS screening uncover any abnormalities, you will be advised to schedule an appointment for further consultation, physical examination, and/or additional testing (as required).