Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) & my relationship with food….. Is there a link?
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can affect people with ovaries. It often leads to irregular menstrual cycles, elevated androgen levels, and the development of small cysts on the ovaries
The connection between PCOS and emotional eating can be complex. Emotional eating is a coping mechanism where individuals turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or distraction from emotional distress. Several factors contribute to this relationship:
1. **Hormonal Imbalances**: PCOS disrupts hormone levels, including insulin. Insulin resistance is common in people with PCOS, which can lead to dips & peaks in blood sugar levels. This can trigger cravings for sugary and high-carb foods, which may provide temporary emotional relief.
2. **Mood Disorders**: PCOS is often associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. These conditions can increase the likelihood of emotional eating as a way to manage negative emotions.
3. **Body Image and Self-Esteem**: PCOS can be associated with symptoms like weight gain, acne, and excess hair growth, which can impact body image and self-esteem. Emotional eating may be a way to cope with body dissatisfaction.
4. **Stress and Coping Mechanisms**: Dealing with the challenges of PCOS, including fertility issues, can be emotionally distressing. Emotional eating may be a way to cope with the stress and uncertainty that often accompany the condition.
5. **Nutritional Recommendations**: Dietary changes are often recommended for managing PCOS. However, strict or overly restrictive diets may trigger feelings of deprivation, leading to emotional eating episodes.
Emotional eating can create a cycle of negative emotions, guilt, and potential exacerbation of PCOS symptoms. Recognising patterns and seeking coping mechanisms, such as mindfulness, enjoyable movement, and seeking support, can be beneficial for managing both PCOS and emotional eating. Consulting a specialist in both PCOS and food relationships can provide great relief and long term improvements. Going on a diet, over exercising or restricting in anyway is unlikely to resolve either both PCOS or emotional eating, so beware of the fad diets out there.