The Overlap Between Binge Eating Behaviors and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: An Etiological Integrative Model

Curr Pharm Des. 2018;24(9):999-1006. doi: 10.2174/1381612824666171204151209.


Studies indicate that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) features (e.g. insulin instability, food cravings, overproduction of androgens and menstrual irregularities) are associated with increased appetite, impaired impulse control and feelings of body dissatisfaction. Counter intuitively, binge eating behaviors have been shown to reinforce PCOS symptomatology, precipitating concurrently body dissatisfaction, weight gain, insulin instability and overproduction of androgens. The present systematic literature review aspires to investigate the relationship between binge eating, in the broader context of eating disorder behaviors, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), taking into account shared characteristics between EDs (Eating Disorders) and PCOS. To address this aim, the PRISMA guidelines are adopted. A total of 21 studies, which investigated the presence of binge eating in PCOS population and the presence of PCOS in EDs population, were synthesized. Findings suggested that an increased prevalence of binge eating has been reported in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS); and that women suffering from BN (Bulimia Nervosa) and BED (Binge Eating Disorder) are more likely to display polycystic ovaries. Further research on their shared liability is required in order to inform more efficient prevention and treatment initiatives for populations presenting with comorbid features.

Keywords: Binge eating disorder; body dissatisfaction; eating disorders; menstrual irregularities; menstruation; polycystic ovarian syndrome..

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / etiology
  • Bulimia / drug therapy*
  • Bulimia / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / etiology


  • Antipsychotic Agents