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Should Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Undergo a Name Change?

A panel assembled by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has proposed a name change for the disease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), calling the name misleading.

PCOS results from a signal error between the brain and ovaries. The primary indication of PCOS is an overproduction of androgens, or hormone imbalance. A woman with PCOS may or may not present with additional symptoms, including:

  • Small, fluid-filled cysts that appear like a “string of pearls”.
  • Excess hair growth on the face or body.
  • Thinning scalp hair.
  • Weight gain, particularly in the stomach.
  • Acne or oily skin.

Women with PCOS should be frequently monitored for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and underactive thyroid. Though the cause of PCOS is unknown, research has shown genetic and environmental links.

Renaming the disease to focus more on the hormone imbalance, rather than cysts, would promote a better understanding of the disease and increase research efforts toward properly diagnosing and treating PCOS.

We are interested to hear your suggestions for a new name for PCOS. Contribute to the conversation on Fertility Authority's Facebook page, and the NIH moves to rename PCOS thread on

For more information on PCOS, visit Fertility Authority’s PCOS channel, or the PCOS and Diabetes forum on

Looking for a fertility doctor who specializes in PCOS? Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229).

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