How accurate are tests for PCOS?

Blood tests can help your doctor to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by measuring different factors in the blood that can identify PCOS. These different factors include increase insulin or androgen levels. Besides insulin and androgen levels, your doctor might also test for cholesterol, triglyceride and glucose levels. Blood tests allow the doctor to differentiate between PCOS and illnesses that present similar symptoms.

Dr. Daniel A. Dumesic, MD
Fertility Specialist

Tests for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are very accurate when they are performed in particular laboratories with an extraction step of the blood to remove contaminants. Sophisticated assessments and tandem mass spectrometry are used together to get a good read on absolute levels of androgens (steroids that control the level and maintenance of masculine characteristics). Essentially, the tests are accurate if properly performed.

The problem with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) tests is sometimes with the testing of the male hormones. The laboratory assays are not calibrated well for women's low levels, and thus the results come back as normal. Usually, between a woman's history, lab results and ultrasound of the ovaries, a diagnosis can be made.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.