Referral to specialist
Symptoms of PCOS typically arise during adolescence and into the early or mid-twenties. As there is a wide range of symptoms which show a variance in severity, there are a number of medical referral routes that might be taken in arriving at a diagnosis and implementing a treatment plan. Frequently, puberty is the point at which PCOS can become apparent, manifesting itself by the emergence of acne which may be worse than most other girls and/or there may be disruption to your menstrual cycle so you may experience fewer or no periods.
Another common route of referral is when you have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive and seek help from your GP or specialist to investigate why this might be.
The most common routes of referral are to either an endocrinologist or a gynaecologist; although skin problems might also lead to referral to a dermatologist. As the syndrome tends to be inherited, you may have a family history of PCOS and/or Type 2 Diabetes or metabolic syndrome and it is important that you tell your doctor. This may help them target any tests so that an accurate diagnosis can be made at the earliest opportunity and any other possible causes of your symptoms can be excluded.
PCOS is an endocrine disorder characterised by altered hormone levels – particularly insulin and androgens (male sex hormones). The most effective treatments should target these changes and bring them to the normal range.
You may also be offered specific additional treatments for particular signs and symptoms that need extra attention. Commonly, acne and skin problems and hirsutism can be treated on a symptomatic basis if they are resistant to treatment. Similarly, if you are trying to have a baby you may be referred to a specialist fertility unit for extra assistance.
The aim of treatment should be to correct the underlying problems, improve your signs/symptoms and general health as well as to safeguard you from the associated long-term health risks.