Raise your hand if you’re a woman with PCOS who’s had a poor experience at the OBGYN or primary care office?
Sadly, I think more than a few of us have our hands raised here. You’re definitely not alone on that front. Choosing a doctor that you can trust and then feeling confident in their care can be a tedious process all on its own. Sometimes you have to come equipped with the knowledge of how to navigate the situation before you even sit down in the vinyl waiting room chairs. As a PCOS cyster myself, and a Registered Dietitian, I know what a PCOS diagnosis process looks like and how to combat PCOS if you are a fellow cyster.
Here’s my step-by-step guide to finding a PCOS doctor and feeling like you’re in control from the start, I got you boo.
Choosing a PCOS-Friendly Doctor
As mentioned, finding a doctor you can trust in women’s health can be a challenge. It’s almost like dating. Personalities, communication styles, and physical interactions, all matter when finding a doctor.
So, where do you start?
A good place to start your provider search is with good ole’ Google. Online reviews are a powerful tool we have today, and you can read first-hand accounts of other women’s experiences and accounts. You can even search reviews to see if they’ve worked with PCOS patients before. However, with reviews it’s also important to consider all good experiences may not be represented there – when we’re feeling fired up we tend to get a little more vocal!
So after you’ve weighed the good and bad reviews, check out their website and find out if your insurance partners with their office. This is a crucial step if you’re looking to use your insurance. If not, proceed onward.
Lastly, it’s time to start ‘dating’. Set up an appointment, and start preparing. Don’t worry babe, I’ve got tips on this part too.
PCOS Tests to Ask Your Doctor For
When you find a doctor you’re ready to visit, it’s helpful to feel empowered with information and what to ask for before you even arrive. You’ll feel more confident and understand your symptoms and any tests your doctor might recommend on a deeper level.
It’s important to note that there is no definitive test to diagnose PCOS. A PCOS diagnosis is comprised of many different tests, conversations, and maybe an ultrasound to determine if you’re suffering from PCOS or another condition.
When you come in for your appointment, you can expect a few things – the first being a history of symptoms and any other health records. This storytelling process will help your doctor through the diagnosis process. If you mentioned already you’re concerned about PCOS, they’ll likely ask about common PCOS symptoms like weight gain, irregular periods, acne, or hirsutism.
Sometimes this process can be pretty long as you and your provider navigate the testing and trial period. If you’re looking to get the ball rolling faster, here are the different tests you can ask for that can answer if you have a PCOS diagnosis or not:
Glucose Tolerance Test and A1C to test for insulin sensitivity, a very common PCOS symptom.
Blood tests for high androgens or other commonly elevated levels associated with PCOS including DHEA, Testosterone, and DHT.
A full thyroid panel – make sure this includes T3, T4, and thyroid antibodies! Sometimes what may seem like PCOS could actually be tied to your thyroid, and in some cases, it can drastically affect your quality of life.
A pelvic ultrasound to look for polycystic ovaries – note this is not typically considered qualitative on its own for a diagnosis.
While there’s no one test to give you that yes or no answer, these tests paint a picture for your doctor that will help to guide you to a thorough understanding of your overall health.
What to Do If Your Doctor Won’t Test You for PCOS
Ultimately, your care should be exactly what you want it to be. If you’ve run into your provider refusing to run tests for you, don’t hesitate to seek out a second opinion. With our healthcare system, you are empowered to seek out another professional.
If you’re still feeling confused or frustrated about why your doctor refused to run tests, you can ask them and try to find out more. Prior to leaving your current doctor, you can always ask them to document why they refused inside your chart, giving you and your next provider more information.
In the interim, as a Registered Dietitian, I have the unique ability to be able to order some of the most advanced home-based lab tests in medicine today to be delivered straight to your door.
It’s simple and convenient: you take the test in the privacy of your own home, send it back to the lab with prepaid shipping, and the results come straight to me for interpretation. We’ll hop on a call or video chat to discuss your results in-depth and develop an action plan to get you back to you- for good.
Building a PCOS Care Team
It’s important to note that there are different doctors that fit different personality types, and that’s okay. It’s important to build a care team that reflects what you’re looking for.
Treating and taking care of your PCOS looks like more than just Metformin, birth control, and dieting – it’s about creating a supportive and nourishing lifestyle with a team of professionals on your side, dedicated to your care.
As a Registered Dietitian who’s dedicated her practice to helping women conquer PCOS, I’m here to walk alongside you. I use my degrees, scientific research, and personal experiences as a fellow cyster to provide integrative guidance on how you can be the boss of your PCOS – without throwing away your life.
I’ve worked with hundreds of women to be the boss of their PCOS and even get pregnant with PCOS if that’s your goal. PCOS Boss Academy and Get Pregnant with PCOS were thoughtfully and intelligently designed to naturally integrate into real life with longevity in mind. We take back control of our bodies by kicking restrictions to the curb and introducing healthy, sustainable lifestyle changes.
Learn more about both of my programs and if they’re the right fit for you. I’m here for you bae, and ready to be a part of the PCOS team you need.