Eating Disorders and Polycistic Ovary Syndrome

Disturbed eating patterns (such as anorexia, bulimia and obesity) seem to be linked to an increased incidence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). However, it is still fairly common amongst the general population of pre-menopausal women, with a prevalence of about 6%.

PCOS is characterized by the accumulation of many cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries. Symptoms include excess facial and body hair, acne, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility. The underlying cause of all the symptoms of PCOS are hormonal and metabolic disturbances, which helps to explain the link between PCOS and eating disorders.

In the long-term PCOS can cause an increased risk of endometrial cancer and heart attacks.

PCOS is an example of how disturbed eating patterns do not only affect your weight, they can affect all aspects of your physiology, including those as diverse as mood, fertility and heart-function.

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