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Panel recommends changing name of common disorder in women
Date:1/23/2013

An independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health has concluded that the name of a common hormone disorder in women, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), causes confusion and is a barrier to research progress and effective patient care. The current name focuses on a criterion ovarian cysts which is neither necessary nor sufficient to diagnose the syndrome. In a report released today, the panel recommended assigning a new name that more accurately reflects the disorder.

"The name PCOS is a distraction that impedes progress. It is time to assign a name that reflects the complex interactions that characterize the syndrome. The right name will enhance recognition of this issue and assist in expanding research support," said Dr. Robert A. Rizza, panel member and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

PCOS is a common disorder that affects approximately 5 million reproductive-aged women in the United States. Women with PCOS have difficulty becoming pregnant due to hormone imbalances. They often have other symptoms as well, such as irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, weight gain, excess hair growth on the face or body, thinning scalp hair, and ovarian cysts. Women with PCOS are also at risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Costs to the U.S. healthcare system to identify and manage PCOS are approximately $4 billion annually.

The causes of PCOS are not well understood. Some studies suggest a strong genetic component, while others find that environmental factors play an important role. The panel recommended that well-designed, multiethnic studies be conducted to determine factors, such as obesity, that exacerbate a genetic predisposition. The panel also determined the need for additional research to identify risks and treatments for complications and how to manage to common symptoms.

"Additional studies are needed to identify new treatments that address the mo
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Contact: Elizabeth Neilson
elizabeth.neilson@nih.gov
301-496-4999
NIH/Office of Disease Prevention
Source:Eurekalert

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