Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is one of the most common fertility concerns in women today. Doctors have found that there may be a link to this condition and the development or worsening of eating disorders. For those that suffer from either condition, it is important to understand that this link is present and to know that you can get help for both conditions.

What the Research Tells Us

The US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health published a study that looked at the development and association of polycystic ovarian syndrome and bulimia nervosa. The volunteers within the study were women age 18 to 25. The study hosted an interviewer-based eating disorder exam along with a trans-abdominal ultrasound to diagnose the presence of polycystic ovaries. Doctors looked at the symptoms the 230 women suffered and found that, about 30 percent of those who participated in the study had some level of overeating and four percent suffered extreme methods to control their weight. Two of those studied were diagnosed with bulimia nervosa and five women with binge eating disorder. Some of these women had PCOS.

What Is the Link?

Eating disorders of all types increase in risk when a woman suffers from PCOS. However, how frequently this occurs as well as the level of severity is not well understood. A good example of the link, though, comes from the eating disorder known as binge eating. In these instances, many women with PCOS will struggle with binge eating often revolving around emotional and physiological factors. Nearly all women who have PCOS will have a high level of insulin because of the development of insulin resistance. It is easy to see the relationship. These women suffer from binge eating and are often overweight. This leads to insulin resistance and PCOS development.

There is hope, though. For those who suffer from binge eating or other eating disorders, proper treatment can help to control the symptoms experienced. In addition, this can lead to improvement in the overall health of the individual and, in some cases, improvement in symptoms of PCOS.

It is important for individuals to recognize the link between these conditions and to seek out help if they feel they may have one or both. It can help to talk to a professional about the risks associated with the development of either condition and to find treatment whenever possible.