PCOS_to_Wellness_content

PCOS is a surprisingly common condition believed to affect approx 10% of reproductive-aged women, with up to 70% of affected women remaining undiagnosed. This comprehensive panel checks for hormonal imbalance, thyroid dysfunction and insulin resistance which can provide further insights into women who may be suffering from PCOS.

What we test

Female Hormones

Hormone imbalances are often evident with PCOS, and may be associated with irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, lack of ovulation, and hyperandrogenism (resulting from high levels of testosterone).

This blood test measures:

High levels commonly seen in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which can lead to difficulties in conceiving. Symptoms can include irregular periods, loss of hair from the head, excess facial and body hair, unexplained weight gain and acne.

Most testosterone is strongly bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This test measures the proportion of unbound testosterone which is available to the body's tissues.

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) is a protein that binds tightly to testosterone and oestradiol. Changes in SHBG levels can affect the amount of hormone that is available to be used by the body's tissues.

Too much oestradiol (oestrogen) is linked to acne, constipation, loss of sex drive, depression, weight gain, PMS, period pain, and thyroid dysfunction. The effects of low oestradiol are evident in menopause and include mood swings, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats and osteoporosis.

The sex hormone produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation and is a crucial part of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone helps to combat PMS and period pain issues, assists fertility and promotes calmness and quality of sleep.

A progestogen steroid hormone related to progesterone. It is also a chemical intermediate in the biosynthesis of many other endogenous steroids including androgens, estrogens, glucocorticoids, and mineralocorticoids, as well as neurosteroids.

Governs the menstrual cycle, peaking before ovulation. Raised LH can signal that you are not ovulating, are menopausal or that your hormones are not in balance (as with polycystic ovaries).

Stimulates the ovary to mature an egg. High levels indicate poor ovarian reserves which means the quality and quantity of eggs may be low. This doesn’t necessarily mean that pregnancy is impossible, but it may be more difficult to achieve.

Normally this ratio is about 1:1 meaning FSH and LH levels in the blood are similar. In women with polycystic ovaries the LH to FSH ratio is often higher e.g. 2:1 or even 3:1

High levels inhibit secretion of FSH and interfere with ovulation, and can also inhibit the production of progesterone which is needed to prepare the lining of the uterus for implantation of an embryo.

Insulin

Insulin resistance is a common feature of women with PCOS. High levels of insulin can lead to increased testosterone production, as well as metabolic issues such as weight gain, increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular risk.

This blood test measures:

A hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to control blood glucose levels and plays a role in controlling the levels of carbohydrates and fats stored in the body.

Thyroid Function

Polycystic ovaries are often a feature of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), and similarly thyroid disorders are more common in women with PCOS.

This blood test measures:

Communicates with the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4 which regulate metabolic functions. High TSH thyroid test levels indicates an underactive thyroid, and low levels an overactive thyroid.

Adrenocortex Function

Two of the most important hormones that impact athletic performance are cortisol and DHEA-S, the long-lasting stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol has a catabolic effect which mobilises the body’s nutritional resources for fuel. DHEA-S has an opposing anabolic effect and coverts food into living tissue. In order to achieve your fitness goals cortisol and DHEA-S must be in proper balance.

This blood test measures:

The cortisol test measures 'the stress hormone' cortisol which mobilises the body’s nutritional resources in stressful situations. Prolonged elevation of cortisol can cause fatigue, immune dysfunction, and impact sex hormones.

A long-acting adrenal hormone which regulates energy production, the immune system, brain chemistry, bone formation, muscle tone and libido. DHEA-S is converted by the body into testosterone and other sex hormones.

Test instructions

Download and print your pathology form from your i-screen dashboard.

Take test 7 days before predicted date of menstruation (day 1). If menstrual cycle is 28 days, test on day 21. Or day 23 of a 30 day cycle, or day 19 of a 26 day cycle.

Fast from all food and drink other than water for at least 8 hours, and no more than 12 hours prior to your test.

Take your form to your local collection centre to have your blood sample taken - no need for an appointment.

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