How Could the Diagnosis of PCOS be Improved?
- The diagnosis of PCOS is often a process of elimination.
- Diagnosing PCOS via a process of elimination is far from ideal.
- Measuring insulin levels and genetic testing are two way to help with the diagnosis of PCOS.
Measuring insulin levels
70-80% of women with PCOS will be insulin resistant, but with no accurate methods for measuring this, it does not currently form part of the diagnostic criteria. Some doctors may choose to screen for other metabolic conditions, or offer an oral glucose tolerance test, but this is usually done once a PCOS diagnosis has been made. Perhaps accurate assessment of insulin levels is an area that does warrant further research; as it is thought that an imbalance in both this hormone and testosterone are what underpins many features of the disease
Genetic testing is another tool that might be implemented for PCOS diagnosis in the future. Some genes are certainly thought to have a role in the aetiology of the condition. However, to date, there has been substantial difficulty in identifying which ones are directly involved in causing or predisposing women to PCOS. The condition is most likely multifactorial and polygenic in nature, meaning that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are responsible, and multiple genes may be involved.
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