Should You See a Specialist for PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex endocrine disorder that is sometimes diagnosed after years of symptoms.

Female doctor using digital tablet in consultation
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Because of the complex hormonal changes associated with PCOS, females who have the condition can benefit by getting medical care from experts who have experience with PCOS. A wealth of treatment options are available that can help you manage the symptoms and prevent the complications of PCOS.

Your primary care provider (PCP), and possibly OB-GYN, are an essential part of your treatment team. If you have diabetes or high cholesterol, this can be usually be managed by your PCP. Fertility issues can often be managed by a gynecologist.

Additionally, PCOS increases the risk for other disorders that require screening, and your PCP can find early signs of common complications by checking your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and screening for sleep apnea, and mood disorders like depression, and anxiety.

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

Endocrinologist

An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the hormonal system. If your PCP or OB-GYN suspects that you have the disorder, they may consider referring you to an endocrinologist for further diagnostic testing and treatment.

If your menstrual abnormalities and symptoms aren’t controlled with birth control pills or with other initial treatments, you can seek care with an endocrinologist if you aren’t already seeing one.

Reproductive Endocrinologist

Reproductive endocrinologists, sometimes called fertility healthcare providers, are endocrinologists who specialize in sex hormones and are also credentialed as obstetricians and gynecologists.

Often times a reproductive endocrinologist can manage your PCOS treatment and may do ultrasounds in the office. Since many people with PCOS have difficulty conceiving, if you are attempting to get pregnant and having difficulties, you may need to have a reproductive endocrinologist on your team.

Dietitian

Registered dietitians (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionists (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 medical needs.

Follow-up sessions may involve additional nutrition education, meal planning, monitoring of supplement use, and support with eating issues.

Just like physicians and other healthcare providers 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. Once you find a list of providers near you, you can visit their websites to see if they have experience with PCOS.

Other PCOS Experts

Depending on your symptoms and goals, a healthcare provider and registered dietitian may not be the only 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.

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

A Word From Verywell

It is extremely important that you are comfortable with your healthcare provider. If you don’t understand anything about your care, make sure you ask questions. And if would like a different treatment approach, don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.

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  1. De Leo V, Musacchio MC, Cappelli V, Massaro MG, Morgante G, Petraglia F. Genetic, hormonal and metabolic aspects of PCOS: an update. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2016;14(1):38. doi:10.1186/s12958-016-0173-x