PCOS is a reproductive syndrome in women that can cause serious health complications. According to the CDC, PCOS affects as many as 5 million US women of reproductive age and is one of the most common causes of female infertility in the US.
If you have PCOS, you can face a certain hormone disorder that can cause health issues with your fertility, period, weight, and even skin conditions. It is highly recommended to test and find out whether you have PCOS and start treatment as early as possible to avoid risk for other conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.
- What is PCOS?
- What is the PCOS test?
- What tests are done to confirm PCOS?
- What is the main cause of PCOS?
- What age does PCOS start?
- Can you see PCOS in the blood tests?
- Can PCOS Affect Pregnancy Tests?
- Can You Get Pregnant Naturally With PCOS?
- Can PCOS go away?
- Can You Test For PCOS at Home?
- Where to get tested for PCOS?
For our readers who are interested in knowing the PCOS test cost beforehand, we begin with that section.
PCOS Test Cost
The cost of the PCOS test is about $119 in the U.S. No prior appointment is required. Order your test kit online, and get tested from the comfort of your home. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days.
The following table shows the cost of the PCOS test at one of our home test kit providers who serve across the U.S.
Name of our Partner Labs
(Home Test Kit)
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, in short, known as PCOS, is an imbalance of crucial reproductive hormones that can happen in a woman’s reproductive years. If you have PCOS, your menstruating cycle can largely vary, i.e., you may not have periods very often or have periods that can last multiple weeks.
PCOS can also lead to other health complications by inflating other hormones like androgen a type of male hormone that females also have (typically in small quantities in regular women), which can stop eggs from ovulation resulting in irregular periods, thinning scalp hair, acne, and abnormal hair growth on the face/body. Women with PCOS are also insulin resistant where their body can’t use its insulin effectively –– increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes.
This syndrome is identified by multiple tiny sacs of fluid growing along the outer edge of your ovary. These tiny sacs are called cysts. Follicles which is the small fluid-filled cysts that contain immature eggs often fail to regularly release eggs.
What is the PCOS test?
PCOS test is a comprehensive blood test that measures multiple hormones that help control essential functions of your menstrual cycle, weight, ovulation, and metabolism. Following are the key hormones that a PCOS test analyses for:
Women produce Testosterone (which is primarily a male sex hormone) in their ovaries in small quantities. In the case of abnormally high levels of testosterone, it can disrupt the menstruation cycle and cause skin symptoms like excess acne. If you have PCOS, you can have high levels of testosterone, however, testosterone levels should be contrasted along with other hormone levels, especially FAI and SHBG, which are explained below.
2) Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
Like every hormone which needs some type of carrier to move from one part of our body to another, SHBG is a type of protein that carries testosterone and a few other hormones through the bloodstream. If you have PCOS, your SHGB levels can be decreased, which could also cause high testosterone levels in your body.
3) Free Androgen Index (FAI)
This metric is more like a ratio that contrasts your total amount of testosterone against your SHBG levels. A high FAI result is a sign that the amount of free testosterone in your body is more than the typically required level –– indicating that you may have PCOS.
Estrogen is a group of hormones (having three major forms, typically measured in numerical form like Estradiol 1) that plays a crucial role in women regulating their periods. Low levels of estrogen often signal a sign of infertility in women. However, if you have PCOS, your estrogen level may be normal or sometimes high. Again, similar to testosterone, estrogen levels have be to viewed alongside other hormone levels to get a clear picture.
5) Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone is another crucial hormone that is responsible for the growth and development of ovarian follicles as well as for the release of an egg during ovulation. Similar to how Testosterone needs to be viewed alongside FAI and SHGB, FSH needs to be interpreted along with LH hormone levels.
Healthy women have their LH/FSH ratio between 1 and 2. If you have PCOS, this ratio becomes reversed, reaching as high as 2 or sometimes even 3. High LH/FSH ratio results in failure of ovulation in PCOS women.
6) Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Luteinizing Hormone helps in controlling your period cycle and secretes hormones like estrogen and progesterone in your ovaries. If you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, your LH levels may be elevated.
Cortisol levels can often fluctuate for many reasons as it responds to your stress level and/or low blood sugar. The cortisol hormone is also known as the “stress hormone”. Some symptoms of PCOS can overlap with high cortisol levels and other disorders. Your physician will interpret your PCOS symptoms and other hormone levels to reach a diagnosis.
What tests are done to confirm PCOS?
Your physician typically recommends either of the following three types of testing methods:
There is no single blood test that can provide sufficient information on whether you have PCOS or not. Since reproductive hormones are a combination of multiple hormones working coherently. A small amount of blood sample from your vein will be sent for lab analyses to measure the levels of the following hormones:
- Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
- Free Androgen Index (FAI)
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Sometimes Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) can also be taken as it helps estimate how far off you are from menopause. High AMH levels are typical with PCOS conditions.
After your blood test diagnosis, if you have PCOS, you will be asked to take a blood glucose and cholesterol test to check on your overall health like lipid profile and insulin levels.
Instead of analyzing your hormonal metrics via blood test, a pelvic exam can be recommended by your doctor to check any abnormalities (typically to find the cysts) in your reproductive organs including the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and rectum. They may also look at your blood pressure, BMI (body mass index), extra hair growth, acne, and discolored skin which can all be used as a signal to know if you have PCOS. Even an increased waist circumference of ≥ 100 has a higher risk of PCOS. Waist size is also considered when you undergo a PCOS test.
Pelvic ultrasound is a type of sonogram that radiates mild waves into your pelvic region to produce an image of what your ovaries look like. For a pelvic ultrasound test, you lie down flat and your doctor briefly places the ultrasound device in your vagina. If you have PCOS, your ovaries may be 1½ to 3 times larger than the typical size. This ultrasound can show changes in the ovary in about 90% of women having PCOS.
This ultrasound test can also help to detect cysts in your ovaries and the thickness of your uterus lining.
What is the main cause of PCOS?
There isn’t always a single or exact cause that a physician can be certain to point out as the actual cause. There are multiple factors that influence the cause of PCOS ranging from genetics to anxiety. However, PCOS’s linkage to depression and anxiety is not fully decoded to be understood well.
Whatever the case may be, it is highly recommended to diagnose and start treatment as early as possible if you have PCOS, because leaving PCOS undiagnosed and untreated can lead to stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Signs of PCOS can start anytime, either at the time of the first menstrual period or at later stages of your life after you have had periods in your reproductive age.
The symptoms of PCOS vary. A diagnosis of PCOS is made when you have at least two of these:
This is the most common symptom of PCOS. Having few or no menstrual periods for a long time or having periods that are highly irregular or last over a long period can signal you have PCOS. For example, you might have fewer than eight periods a year and these irregular periods may occur more than 45 days apart or some of the period(s) can last longer for multiple weeks.
High androgen levels
High androgen levels can lead to male-pattern-like physical changes like excess facial and body hair. This is known as hirsutism. Elevated androgen can also cause severe acne.
As the name has been derived for this syndrome, your ovaries might be bigger than usual size and have multiple cysts developed due to imbalanced hormone levels. Ovaries may not work as they normally would.
If your BMI is higher than usual, your PCOS symptoms are generally more severe.
What age does PCOS start?
There’s no particular age range where women who develop PCOS fall. PCOS can either begin as soon as you hit puberty, after the first menstrual period when you are 12 years old, or can also develop in your 20s or 30s when you’ve had normal menstrual periods for a while. Some women who are finding it hard to get pregnant can also be diagnosed with PCOS.
Can you see PCOS in the blood tests?
Yes, PCOS can be detected in blood tests, however, a single blood test alone cannot help diagnose PCOS. A panel of hormonal blood tests is needed to analyze and interpret your overall reproductive health and hormonal imbalances if any.
Can PCOS Affect Pregnancy Tests?
Since PCOS largely affects your period cycles, your hormone levels are irregular when you have PCOS, so false negatives are definitely possible. You can test for pregnancy shortly after your missed period and get a negative (false-negative) result even though you are actually conceived.
Can You Get Pregnant Naturally With PCOS?
One of the common myths is that you cannot get pregnant if you have PCOS, but the truth is you can get pregnant with PCOS. Just because your periods are irregular and ovaries do not function the way they regularly should, that doesn’t imply you cannot get pregnant. Indeed, you’ll face difficulty in getting pregnant naturally but it is still possible.
You need to maintain a moderate weight, control your blood sugar levels, and treat other PCOS signs with healthy lifestyle changes and medications. Sometimes you need fertility medications that can help you get pregnant and if medications fail to aid, you can get pregnant with IVF treatment.
Can PCOS go away?
To date, there is no cure for PCOS, unfortunately. However, your physician will recommend a certain diet aimed at managing symptoms of PCOS. If you are overweight, reducing weight can significantly improve your condition and can help lower the risk of long-term complications from PCOS such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Can You Test For PCOS at Home?
Yes! PCOS home test kits are mostly preferred by people who are not convenient in commonplace or who do not have time to visit the lab. One of our testing providers offers the PCOS home test kit. You can order the test kit online and take the sample of your blood read the instructions carefully mentioned in the kit and then post it back. The results will be personally emailed to you within 5 to 11 days depending upon the receipt of the sample by the lab.
Get your PCOS home test kit from LetsGetChecked.
Where to get tested for PCOS?
A PCOS test can be done in any of the following locations by visiting the lab near you. To know the PCOS test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you with a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes. LetsGetChecked also accepts Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) cards.
How should I order my at-home PCOS test kit?
You can click on the “Order Now” button and make a purchase from our partner’s website (LetsGetChecked) by following the instructions mentioned.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, our partner LetsGetChecked provides an online doctor consultation (at a small fee) who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider or you can download the LetsGetChecked app to know your status under your profile.