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Reproductive health is central to overall health even if you’re not considering having children. For instance, your sexually transmitted infection (STI) status, hormone levels, and contraception use all affect your physical, emotional, and mental health.

If you have ovaries, it’s particularly important to be aware of conditions that can affect you, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so you can advocate for your own health.

According to the Office on Women’s Health, PCOS is an issue that affects 10% of women who are of childbearing age. It causes hormone imbalances and metabolism problems that can have widespread effects throughout the body and on your appearance. It’s also a common and treatable cause of infertility.

Because PCOS affects hormonal balance, it can have various effects on the body. Symptoms may include:

  • irregular or missed periods
  • heavy periods
  • excessive body hair
  • male pattern baldness
  • weight gain
  • acne
  • oily hair and scalp
  • infertility

If you’re experiencing symptoms of PCOS, such as irregular periods, acne, weight gain, or unusual hair growth, you may want to consider at-home testing. PCOS test kits allow you to assess your hormone health without visiting a doctor or clinic.

You can keep reading to learn all about at-home PCOS testing and four of the best options.

Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as a “PCOS test” since no single test can diagnose PCOS. It’s not like testing for HIV, where a negative or positive test shows your status.

Instead, a PCOS test is a series of blood tests that measure hormone levels. They’ll check for higher-than-usual male hormone levels.

Additionally, if you visit a doctor in person, they may perform a pelvic exam, perform an ultrasound, or use blood tests to check your cholesterol, insulin, and triglyceride levels.

However, an at-home PCOS test provides information that may prompt you to seek further medical advice. To diagnose PCOS, a doctor would then use a combination of:

  • blood test results
  • ultrasound imaging
  • physical examination
  • your medical history

When doctors diagnose PCOS, they look for three characteristics, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:

  • absence of ovulation
  • cysts on the ovaries
  • high levels of androgens (sex hormones)

Research from 2016 suggests a doctor will ask about your medical history and menstrual cycle to diagnose PCOS.

They’ll also use ultrasound imaging to look at the number of follicles on your ovaries. These fluid-filled sacs contain immature eggs. A person with PCOS will typically have more than someone who does not have the condition, but the suggested number for diagnosis has ranged from 12 or over–20 or over, compared to less than a dozen for a healthy individual.

Typically, a person may have a small number of follicles, though the exact number is not set.

If you have one or all of the above symptoms and a doctor rules out other potential conditions, like thyroid problems or excessive hormone production, they may diagnose PCOS.

It’s important to understand what an at-home PCOS test can and cannot do. It can provide information about your hormone levels, but it can’t say for certain that you have PCOS.

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LetsGetCheckedEverlywellmyLAB BoxModern Fertility
Samplefinger-prick blood sample and salivafinger-prick blood sample and salivafinger-prick blood sample and salivafinger-prick blood sample
Turnaround2–5 daysa few days 1–5 days a few days
Hormones checkedtestosterone, SHBG, FAI, FSH, LH, cortisolestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, FHS, LH, TSH, free T3, free T4, TPOabs, cortisol, DHEAcortisol, DHEA, estradiol, SH, LH, progesterone, testosterone, TSHAMH, TSH, FSH, estradiol, free T4, prolactin, LH

After the laboratory has analyzed your blood sample, they’ll compile your results. The report details:

  • the hormones tested for by the lab
  • their levels
  • the reference ranges

A reference range is just a set of values that shows what typical levels are in a healthy individual.

However, blood test results for PCOS can be tricky to interpret. For example, experts say testosterone may or may not be elevated in someone with PCOS. The same goes for LH and estrogens.

While at-home tests can be a good indicator of your hormone levels, it’s still important to get a full check-up. At your appointment, a doctor can use a combination of blood tests, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound to make their diagnosis.

The at-home testing market is growing in popularity, and numerous PCOS tests are available. So to select the best, we considered the following:

  • Ease of use. All of these options require a blood-prick sample and provide the proper equipment to do so. Some tests may require additional samples, like urine or saliva.
  • Convenience. Most at-home tests come with prepaid return labels, provide easy access to digital results, and allow you to meet with healthcare professionals virtually should your tests indicate high hormone levels.
  • Speed of results. Test results will vary by company, but it’s something we took into account when making our list.
  • Price point. At-home testing kits tend to be on the pricier side. However, we still included tests at various prices to fit your budget best. Additionally, some options accept flexible spending account (FSA) and health savings account (HSA) cards. Some, like EverlyWell, offer periodic promo codes that take money off of the total cost.
  • Medical support. It’s important to have healthcare professionals in your back pocket if you need to discuss your results further. Many of these at-home tests allow you to virtually meet with a doctor or nurse practitioner after receiving your results.
  • Reviews. All of the testing kits on our list have high reviews from customers.

Wherever possible, we also looked for companies that process test samples in Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratories. These labs meet government guidelines for quality standards.

If you’ve decided that at-home PCOS testing is for you, it’s a matter of choosing the most suitable kit. Your decision may depend on the following factors:

  • Price point. Try to pick a test that’s in your price range.
  • Hormones measured. What hormones do you want to include — LH, FSH, or others too? Do you want an overall picture of your fertility?
  • Results. Do you need answers within a few days, or are you comfortable waiting up to 10 days?
  • Support. Is being able to chat with a nurse or doctor about your results important?

Considering these factors and reading reviews will help you choose a home PCOS testing kit that suits your needs.

According to MedlinePlus, PCOS affects fertility and puts you at an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that include high blood pressure.

Because of the health problems caused by PCOS, it is essential to contact a doctor if you’re experiencing any issues with your menstrual cycle and symptoms like:

  • acne
  • weight gain
  • excess body hair

A doctor can recommend treatments depending on your desire to conceive. According to 2016 research, these include:

  • lifestyle changes to help with weight loss
  • hormonal contraception
  • medications to help with fertility and egg release
  • medications to reduce excessive hair
  • cholesterol-lowering medications
  • acne medications

The following sections provide answers to frequently asked questions about PCOS.

PCOS testing kits are available to anyone without a prescription. The kit gets sent home and typically requires you to take a sample of blood and saliva. For the blood sample, the kits include a small lancet to prick your finger with.

Once collected, you send the sample to a lab, often in a provided envelope or package. The lab reviews the samples and provides results within a few days. You can then review your results with a doctor.

Though at-home tests can indicate possible PCOS, you might want to confirm and follow up with any positive results with a doctor. A doctor can formally test and diagnose PCOS.

A PCOS belly can vary between people, but many develop an increase in abdominal fat. This can cause the belly to appear larger and bloated. This increase in fat may increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

PCOS is not generally considered a progressive disease, meaning stages do not really exist. Some people may notice that their symptoms reduce some as they get closer to menopause, but the hormone imbalance does not change.

Symptom severity can also vary between people. For example, studies show an association between disease severity and people with obesity. People with obesity tend to experience worse symptoms associated with PCOS. And people living with PCOS tend to have a harder time managing weight.

Hormonal birth control, such as the pill, affects your hormone levels. If you want to test for PCOS or other hormone-related conditions at home, you should stop your birth control for a few menstrual cycles. This can allow your hormone levels to return to your typical levels.

PCOS is a complex condition with no known cure. Typically, treatment aims to restore hormone balance and uses hormonal medication. But, some natural treatments and lifestyle changes may help the symptoms.

Most notably, losing weight can reduce PCOS symptoms and help balance hormones. If interested, here are tips to lose weight while managing PCOS.

It’s best to check with a doctor before trying any alternative treatments, as they can assess the best options for you. They may recommend the following:

  • dietary changes
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • regular exercise
  • stress management
  • acupuncture
  • herbal supplements

If an at-home test kit suggests you may have PCOS, it’s important to visit a doctor for an official diagnosis.

Testing kits are designed to provide additional information that allows you to manage your own health rather than definitively diagnose a condition.

A doctor can use various blood and imaging tests and a medical history to provide an in-depth picture of your health. Then, if they diagnose PCOS, they can recommend suitable treatments to help balance your hormones and help with fertility.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your menstrual cycle or have concerns about PCOS, it’s best to speak with a doctor.

A range of at-home testing kits is available to provide additional information about your hormone levels. Although these tests cannot replace a trip to the doctor, they may help you take control of your health and gain further insight into your body.

Working with a doctor can help you manage PCOS symptoms and improve your overall health and well-being.