How do I know if I have PCOS?

The 3 Main Criteria for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, the symptoms & testing for getting your PCOS diagnosis


Dr. Laura Meyers, ND

5/25/20231 min read

women's pearl necklace
women's pearl necklace

PCOS is estimated to be the most prevalent endocrine disorder worldwide in menstruating people of reproductive age. It often goes under or misdiagnosed because PCOS symptoms can vary drastically between people, making doctors & yourself even wonder if you do have it or how severe it is.

Currently, The Rotterdam criteria is how PCOS is diagnosed.

You must meet at least 2 out of the following 3 criteria to be diagnosed with PCOS:

  1. Absent, Irregular Cycles

    Absent cycles means going 3 months without a period if they are typically regular, or 6 months without a period if they are irregular. Irregular Cycles (Oligomenorrhea) means having only about 6-8 periods a year. Irregular cycles can be a mix of 21-39 day cycles and long 40-120 day cycles. You may be ovulating, not ovulating, or not ovulating often.

  2. High Androgens

    Blood tests – Elevated Free Testosterone &/or DHEA-S. Physical Signs of High Androgens like facial hair (hirsutism), scalp hair loss/hair thinning, and acne (typically jaw-line area)

  3. Polycystic Ovaries or Enlarged Ovaries

    Tested through Pelvic Ultrasound – the hormonal dysregulation that happens with PCOS can cause many immature eggs (cysts) to try maturing at the same time – showing up as polycystic ovaries⁣ often described as a "string of pearls" appearance.

    ***PCOS is also a diagnosis of exclusion. Meaning there are other conditions that can cause the signs & symptoms listed above, that must be tested for and ruled out. If you’re unsure if you have PCOS, reach out to a practitioner, like myself who can help. Hope this was helpful! Have you heard of this criteria? Was this ever explained to you?

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