Should I See a Specialist If I Have PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complicated disease

Female doctor using digital tablet in consultation
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Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most complex endocrine disorders around. That is part of the reason why PCOS is largely overlooked and underdiagnosed.

Because of the complex hormonal changes associated with PCOS, women with the condition should work with experts trained in PCOS. A wealth of treatment options are available that can help you manage the symptoms and prevent the complications of PCOS.

It is extremely important that you are comfortable with your doctor and that you advocate for your medical care.. And if you are unhappy with your doctor’s recommendations, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.

Here's what you need to know about your PCOS treatment team.

Endocrinologist

While your family doctor or gynecologist may suspect that you have the disorder, it’s strongly recommended that you consult with an endocrinologist for further diagnostic testing and treatment.

An endocrinologist is a doctor who has completed extra years of studying and treating disorders of the hormonal system. (UCompare Healthcare is a free service offered by About.com that can help you find a qualified physician in your area.).

Reproductive Endocrinologist

A reproductive endocrinologist, sometimes called fertility doctors, are endocrinologists who specialize in sex-hormones and are also an obstetrician and gynecologist.

Often times a reproductive endocrinologist can manage your PCOS treatment and can even do ultrasounds in their offices.

Since many women with PCOS have difficulty conceiving, you will likely need to have a reproductive endocrinologist on your team. To find a reproductive endocrinologist near you, contact the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

Dietitian

A registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) are food and nutrition experts who have earned at least a Bachelor’s degree in dietetics. In addition RDs and RDNs have completed a full year of a dietetic internship, passed a credentialing exam and earn continuing education credits each year to maintain their credentials.

Your RDN will provide nutrition education about PCOS, dietary supplements that may improve your condition, and develop a personalized meal plan based on your unique needs.

The number of follow-up sessions will be determined based on your goals and medical needs. Follow up sessions may involve additional nutrition education, meal planning, monitoring of supplement use, and support with eating issues.

Just like physicians that specialize in one area of medicine, sometimes RDs and RDNs do as well. The RDNs at the PCOS Nutrition Center are all trained to work with women with PCOS and specialize in the condition (and have PCOS themselves).

You can also find a dietitian in your area by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, www.eatright.org.

Once you find a list of providers near you, visit their website to see if they have experience with PCOS.

Other PCOS Experts

Depending on your symptoms and goals, a doctor and registered dietitian may not be the only ones part of your treatment team. If you struggle with mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression, you may want to consult with a mental health expert to help you.

Forming a treatment team that you feel comfortable with is important. Don't be afraid to seek out other experts if needed.

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