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Misdiagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome

Misdiagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome

A diagnosis of PCOS may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms can vary between individual women. Symptoms, such as irregular menstrual periods may be mistaken for symptoms of such conditions as perimenopause, endometriosis, puberty, and sexually transmitted diseases. Symptoms can also be similar to symptoms of thyroid diseases and other endocrine diseases.

Because of the similarity of the symptoms of PCOS to symptoms of other diseases and disorders, it is vital that people with symptoms seek medical care....more about Polycystic ovary syndrome »

Polycystic ovary syndrome misdiagnosis: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was cited by Reader's Digest as one of the top 10 misdiagnosed diseases. In the article entitled "10 Diseases Doctors Miss", the 10 diseases mentioned were hepatitis C, lupus, celiac disease, hemochromatosis, aneurysm, Lyme disease, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), chlamydia, and sleep apnea. 1...more about Polycystic ovary syndrome »

Alternative diagnoses list for Polycystic ovary syndrome:

For a diagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome, the following list of conditions have been mentioned in sources as possible alternative diagnoses to consider during the diagnostic process for Polycystic ovary syndrome:

Diseases for which Polycystic ovary syndrome may be an alternative diagnosis

The other diseases for which Polycystic ovary syndrome is listed as a possible alternative diagnosis in their lists include:

Polycystic ovary syndrome: Hidden Causes Misdiagnosed?

Causes of Polycystic ovary syndrome may include these medical conditions:

Polycystic ovary syndrome: Medical Mistakes

Related medical mistakes may include:

Polycystic ovary syndrome: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed conditions in related areas may include:

Common Misdiagnoses and Polycystic ovary syndrome

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women with the condition tend to have heavy periods, since they actually have a bleeding disorder. Severe afflictions may result in the women receiving a hysterectomy unnecessarily, when the underlying cause has not been identified. See the introduction to Von Willebrand's disease and bleeding disorder.

Undiagnosed causes of weight gain and obesity: Although obesity may be related to lifestyle issues, there are also a number of medical causes of weight gain or obesity that may go undiagnosed. Some of the various possibilities include thyroid disorders (i.e. hypothyroidism), polycystic ovarian syndrome (i.e. PCOS), and various other causes of weight gain. Metabolic syndrome with its related diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) is also a consideration, although possibly less helpful in terms of treatment. See also misdiagnosis of obesity or causes of weight gain.

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of the breast tissue, such as with a breast rash with redness and warmth, but not necessarily a physical breast lump. This type of breast cancer should be considered as an uncommon possibility for certain types of breast symptoms.

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves reduce fertility, there are other weight-related or associated medical conditions that further reduce fertility. Some of these hidden causes include COPD, diabetes, thyroid disorders (overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid) and metabolic syndrome. See also other causes of infertility.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: Rare Types

Rare types of medical disorders and diseases in related medical areas:

Failure To Diagnose Polycystic ovary syndrome

Failure to diagnose Polycystic ovary syndrome may be associated with the following:

  • The failure to diagnose PCOS can result in complications such as type 2 diabetes, increased triglycerides, high blood pressure, decreased HDL cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, uterine cancer, miscarriage, abnormal uterine bleeding and blood pressure and sugar level problems during pregnancy
  • PCOS is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because there is no specific diagnostic test for the disorder
  • PCOS is more likely to be undiagnosed in adolescents and menstrual irregularities are believed to be a normal occurrence during puberty. Also, adolescents rarely attempt to get pregnant so infertility problems are less likely to be noticed. Other changes such as acne or increased weight may be put down to normal teenage hormonal effects
  • The symptoms that a patient may present with due to PCOS may vary which can make diagnosis difficult. For example, a teenager may simply suffer irregular menstruation and acne whereas an adult may complain of infertility and weight problems
  • PCOS can remain undiagnosed in many women (especially if they haven't yet encountered fertility problems) because they are too embarrassed to speak to their doctor about menstrual problems or weight problems or they may dismiss them as just features of their genetic makeup

Notes On Hidden Causes Of Polycystic ovary syndrome

The following may be hidden causes of Polycystic ovary syndrome:

  • The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but genetic factors are believed to play a role

Notes On Wrong Diagnosis Of Polycystic ovary syndrome

Wrong diagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome may be associated with the following:

  • Late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia mimics the clinical symptoms of PCOS and this may lead to misdiagnosis
  • Infertility caused by PCOS may also be caused by congenital adrenal hyperplasia, eating disorders, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, progestational agents, pituitary adenoma, premature ovarian failure, extreme exertion or rapid weight changes
  • The combination of excessive hair growth and menstrual problems caused by PCOS may also occur in conditions such as: androgen secreting neoplasm, hyperprolactinoma, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Cushing's syndrome, pituitary disorders and adrenal disorders
  • Insulin resistance problems in an overweight woman may be misdiagnosed simply as type 2 diabetes
  • Cushing's syndrome patients are in many cases misdiagnosed as having PCOS due to the similarity of symptoms
  • Fatigue and lethargy caused by PCOS may be misdiagnosed as depression. In fact, depression is actually quite common in PCOS sufferers but PCOS is often not investigated as a possible underlying cause. Mood changes may also be dismissed as premenstrual syndrome or stress
  • Women suffering from PCOS are often more likely to also suffer from inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome which can make diagnosis more difficult
  • PCOS is often overlooked in women presenting with uncontrollable weight increases as the health physician often considers the patient to be unwilling to admit that their weight problem is due to poor diet and lack of exercise. In today's environment of increasing obesity, this is increasingly a problem
  • Miscarriage can be the result of a vast array of conditions but PCOS is often overlooked as a possible cause
  • The joint pain caused by PCOS may also be caused by arthritis

Complications Of Misdiagnosis Of Polycystic ovary syndrome

The following may be complications of misdiagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome:

  • The secondary amenorrhea caused by PCOS may also be the result of conditions such as hypothyroidism, pregnancy and hyperprolactinemia. These other conditions do not cause excess hair growth but they still need to be ruled out. Menstrual changes may also be caused by cessation of use of the contraceptive pill, pituitary adenoma, ovarian tumors, adrenal gland tumors, hyperthyroidism, premature ovarian failure, extreme exertion, rapid weight changes or eating disorders. Menstrual problems are often simply treated as an isolated problem with the prescription of the contraceptive pill to regulate the menstrual cycle
  • Infertility is a complication of PCOS but sometimes PCOS is overlooked in the search for a cause

Other Notes On Misdiagnosis Of Polycystic ovary syndrome

  • Often even if PCOS is diagnosed, treatment is only offered for the symptoms that present (e.g. acne treatment and recommendation of the pill to control menstrual cycles) rather than treating the whole syndrome

Medical news summaries about misdiagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome:

The following medical news items are relevant to misdiagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome:

General Misdiagnosis Articles

Read these general articles with an overview of misdiagnosis issues.

About misdiagnosis:

When checking for a misdiagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome or confirming a diagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome, it is useful to consider what other medical conditions might be possible misdiagnoses or other alternative conditions relevant to diagnosis. These alternate diagnoses of Polycystic ovary syndrome may already have been considered by your doctor or may need to be considered as possible alternative diagnoses or candidates for misdiagnosis of Polycystic ovary syndrome. For a general overview of misdiagnosis issues for all diseases, see Overview of Misdiagnosis.

1. Reader's Digest, February 2004, "10 Diseases Doctors Miss", page 120

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