Quiz: Is what I'm experiencing PCOS?

Our clinician-designed quiz helps you understand whether or not your symptoms are consistent with PCOS. If they are, we'll guide you towards next steps and make sure you have everything you need to pursue a diagnosis.

Medically reviewed by Christina Roullard, DO
Written by Our Content Team
Last updated: 6/22/23
Table of Contents
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?What are the symptoms for PCOS?Inclusive care for PCOSBuilding an inclusive care team

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects between 5 to 10% of people with a uterus and ovaries. It is characterized by a combination of symptoms related to menstrual irregularity, excess androgen levels, and occasionally the presence of polycystic ovaries. PCOS is a complex condition with various underlying mechanisms, including insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, and genetic factors. The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

The current diagnostic criteria for PCOS include the presence of at least two of the following: irregular menstrual cycles, excess androgen levels or signs of excess androgen (such as acne or excessive hair growth), and polycystic ovaries visualized through ultrasound. However, it's important to note that the diagnostic criteria have evolved over time, and there are ongoing discussions about potential revisions to improve accuracy and inclusivity.

What are the symptoms for PCOS?

PCOS can present with a wide range of symptoms. Some common symptoms of PCOS include:

  1. Menstrual irregularities: People with PCOS may experience infrequent or prolonged menstrual cycles, or they may have no periods at all (amenorrhea).
  2. Excess androgen levels: Elevated levels of androgens can lead to symptoms such as acne, oily skin, and hirsutism (excessive hair growth, often in areas such as the face, chest, or back).
  3. Polycystic ovaries: The presence of enlarged ovaries containing multiple small follicles, which can be seen on ultrasound.
  4. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight: Many people with PCOS struggle with weight management due to underlying insulin resistance and metabolic abnormalities.
  5. Insulin resistance: PCOS is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance, which can contribute to weight gain, difficulty with losing weight, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

It's important to note that not all people with PCOS will experience the same set of symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can vary widely. Additionally, the symptoms of PCOS can overlap with those of other conditions, making diagnosis challenging and emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive evaluation by a trusted healthcare provider.

Iconic can help you find a doctor with PCOS expertise →

Inclusive care for PCOS

Key principles of inclusive care for PCOS include:

  1. Well-being > weight loss: Inclusive care emphasizes the importance of promoting well-being, healthy behaviors, and positive body image rather than simply pursuing weight loss. The focus shifts to improving metabolic health, managing symptoms, and enhancing overall quality of life.
  2. Individualized approach: Recognizing that PCOS affects individuals differently, inclusive care tailors treatment plans to meet each person's unique needs, considering factors such as symptom severity, medical history, lifestyle, and mental health.
  3. Addressing underlying factors: Inclusive care acknowledges the role of various factors contributing to PCOS, such as insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances, and aims to address these underlying issues.
  4. Inclusive language and attitudes: Healthcare providers can use inclusive language and demonstrate non-judgmental attitudes toward body size and weight. They avoid stigmatizing language and focus on creating a safe and supportive environment for all patients.
  5. Conscientious prescribing: Some of the medications used to treat PCOS can affect weight. Inclusive providers will make sure patients are informed about the effects of all medications including how they may affect weight and make sure there is informed consent before prescribing.

Building an inclusive care team

Finding inclusive doctors can be daunting, especially when managing conditions like PCOS. That’s why we built Iconic. Our care navigation service is designed to connect members with affirming doctors who are aligned with their specific needs. With Iconic, it’s finally possible to find doctors who prioritize holistic health, emphasize overall well-being, and provide personalized care for conditions like PCOS.

Build your care team with Iconic for only $14.99/month →

4 sources
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  1. Teede, H., Misso, M., Tassone, E., et al. (2018). Recommendations from the international evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Human Reproduction, 33(9), 1602-1618.
  2. Tylka, T. L., Annunziato, R. A., Burgard, D., et al. (2014). The weight-inclusive versus weight-normative approach to health: Evaluating the evidence for prioritizing well-being over weight loss. Journal of Obesity, 2014, 983495.
  3. Vandenbroucke, L., Goossens, E., Ongenae, K., et al. (2020). Medical fatphobia in healthcare professionals: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 21(5), e12937.
  4. Ramos, D., Mascarenhas, T., & Pereira, A. T. (2021). Moving from weight centric to weight inclusive care for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 12, 652869.