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Experts: Common Women's Condition Needs a New Name

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New Name Could Foster Funding, Education continued...

“The current name focuses on only one of the criteria and actually doesn’t include a discussion about the metabolic syndrome and the metabolic consequences, the insulin resistance, and some of the other major issues that could be lifelong issues that people who have this disease or this series of diseases might have,” says panel member Timothy Johnson, MD. He is an obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“Our hope was that a group or some group of people who are interested in the condition could come together very, very quickly and simply pick a name that is more inclusive,” Johnson says.

New Name ‘Not a New Idea’

Other experts say that’s easier said than done.

“This is not a new idea,” says Sarah Berga, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Berga has spent her career studying PCOS, and she says she tried to give it a new name about 20 years ago. “I changed it to hyperandrogenic anovulation,” she says. 

“We published one of our really most important papers under that name,” Berga says, hoping the change would catch on. The result? “No one knows it exists. You can’t search it.”

“What happens is that the name may not be everything you want it to be, but it’s how all of the world, unfortunately, thinks about it,” she says.

“To reeducate people is a huge task,” she says. “I love it. I agree with [a name change for PCOS]. But I wonder how really feasible it will be.”

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