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PCOS: How hormone tests can help with diagnosis

One in ten women has polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS (yep — it’s that prevalent), but it often goes undiagnosed. Below, we’re digging into what you need to know about PCOS and how a simple hormone test can help you and your doctor find out if you have it.

Most of the time, PCOS is undiagnosed — but it’s very common

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone imbalance that can affect a woman's fertility, menstrual cycle, and appearance. Women with PCOS may have irregular or missed periods, excess hair growth, acne, and weight gain. PCOS is caused by an imbalance of hormones, including insulin, testosterone, and androgens. Insulin resistance is a common problem in women with PCOS, and it can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Is there a test for PCOS diagnosis?

Only a doctor will be able to give you a medical diagnosis of PCOS. While there is no single test for PCOS, doctors primarily use a checklist, called the Rotterdam criteria, to diagnose the condition. This criteria includes:

  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycles

  • High levels of male sex hormones like testosterone or symptoms that might indicate high levels (like acne or excessive hair growth)

  • An increased number of immature follicles in the ovaries, evaluated through an ultrasound or AMH result


If you think two of of these criteria apply to you, you should discuss it with a doctor who will be able to assist you in your diagnosis and management of PCOS.

PCOS diagnosis relies on the Rotterdam criteria

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Arva's PCOS test looks at Insulin Resistance, Androgen Excess, and AMH Factor

How does a hormone test help inform a PCOS diagnosis?

PCOS is diagnosed by looking at your physical symptoms and hormone levels together. Arva Health offers a comprehensive PCOS test that tests over 8 hormones that are important for PCOS diagnosis. These hormones are the same ones that doctors use in India, and around the world to diagnose PCOS.

Getting a PCOS hormone test is a great way to find out if you have two of the three criteria needed for a diagnosis. This can help you get a diagnosis from your doctor more quickly and easily.

How is AMH related to PCOS?

The term “polycystic” has oftentimes been a confusing medical jargon. To put it simply, “poly” translates to many and “cysts” are the immature follicles in the ovaries. The cells around these immature follicles are the ones that produce AMH. Therefore, a higher number of immature follicles leads to higher AMH.

This was confirmed by the 2023 Rotterdam criteria, which states that AMH can be used as an alternative diagnosis to a Pelvic Ultrasound – a tool to investigate the number of these immature follicles.

PCOS causes “string of pearls” follicles in the ovaries.

PCOS can affect ovulation and make getting pregnant more difficult

How might PCOS affect fertility?

PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility.

The biggest barrier to getting pregnant with PCOS is ovulation. Because PCOS often means that lots and lots of eggs start developing each month in the ovaries, but many cycles are actually anovulatory (i.e. no egg is released). So there often isn’t an egg to fertilise. That’s why infertility is so common among people with PCOS.

But treatment for PCOS can often help with ovulation too. For people with PCOS who are struggling with being overweight, or with weight management, treatment can help restore ovulatory function. Also, there are a few different types medications (such as clomiphene and letrozole) that can help too.
If those methods don’t end up regulating ovulation, In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) can also help women with PCOS get pregnant. The bottom line is that there are lots of options — and a doctor can help you plan the best strategy for you.

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This site is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you're looking for medical advice, we suggest talking with a qualified physician.

55, 4th A Main, 5th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore, 560095

© 2023 Arva Health

Fertility care, reimagined for India—on your timeline.

This site is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you're looking for medical advice, we suggest talking with a qualified physician.

55, 4th A Main, 5th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore, 560095

© 2023 Arva Health

Fertility care, reimagined for India—on your timeline.

This site is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you're looking for medical advice, we suggest talking with a qualified physician.

55, 4th A Main, 5th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore, 560095

© 2023 Arva Health