Are You Sure It's PCOS?

PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, affecting around five million women in the US. Despite the fact that it affects a huge number of women, it and the women affected by it haven't always received the amount of research and media attention they deserve. Fortunately, that's beginning to change. Unfortunately, the increased awareness has led to an increase in self-diagnosis. And I can't even begin to tell you how dangerous that can be,

Many of the physical symptoms of PCOS are the result of hyperandrogenism (high androgen levels) and hyperinsulemia (high insulin levels.) Both of which can be caused by other disorders or diseases. Just 'cause it looks like PCOS, doesn't mean it is PCOS. Looks can be deceiving, my friend.

So, what are some of the other conditions that "look" like PCOS? 

  • thyroid dysfuction
  • hyperprolactinemia
  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • hypothalamic amenorrhea
  • primary ovarian insufficiency
  • ovarian or adrenal androgen androgen secreting tumor
  • Cushing syndrome
  • acromegaly
  • diabetes
  • exogenous androgen exposure

Each of which requires a different treatment protocol than the treatment for PCOS. Trying to treat any of these with the PCOS lifestyle recommendations you've found online might not improve your symptoms at all and may even make them worse. 

If you're experiencing PCOS symptoms, please find and go to a doctor you can trust. Let them know what you're experiencing and don't let anyone, doctor or otherwise tell you it's nothing. It might not be PCOS but that doesn't mean it's nothing. The signals your body's giving you matter and aren't to be ignored. Ask your healthcare provider to rule out the other diseases that can be mistaken for PCOS. Then if you receive the diagnosis, and only then, you should start the self-care and lifestyle recommendations for PCOS.

Need help finding a doc who specializes in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? Check out PCOSAA's Find A Provider page, powered by amino.

Are You Sure It's PCOS Self and Differential Diagnosis for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome