Increased odds of disordered eating in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eat Weight Disord. 2019 Oct;24(5):787-797. doi: 10.1007/s40519-018-0533-y. Epub 2018 Jun 26.


Purpose: We aimed to identify the risk of eating disorders (ED) in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared to controls.

Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that included women with well-defined PCOS and controls and used validated ED screening/diagnostic tools to measure mean ED score, prevalence of abnormal ED scores, and/or prevalence of specific ED diagnoses such as bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Results: Eight studies, including 470 women with PCOS and 390 controls, met inclusion criteria for the systematic review. Meta-analysis of seven of those studies found that the odds of an abnormal ED score (OR 3.05; 95% CI 1.33, 6.99; four studies) and the odds of any ED diagnosis (OR 3.87; 95% CI 1.43, 10.49; four studies) were higher in women with PCOS compared to controls.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that women with PCOS are at increased odds of having abnormal ED scores and specific ED diagnoses. Given the potential implications of an ED on weight management strategies, our findings support routine screening for ED in this population.

Level of evidence: Level I, systematic review and meta-analysis.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Binge eating disorder; Bulimia nervosa; Eating disorder; Polycystic ovary syndrome.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence