Investigation of taste function and eating behavior in women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Cetik S., Acikgoz A., Yildiz B. O.

Appetite, vol.168, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 168
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105776
  • Journal Name: Appetite
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Animal Behavior Abstracts, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Index Islamicus, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Polycystic ovary syndrome, Taste, Eating, Oral contraceptives, SEX-DIFFERENCES, ORAL-CONTRACEPTIVES, BODY-COMPOSITION, FOOD CRAVINGS, SENSITIVITY, CHOICE, SMELL
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age that is associated with eating disorders and disordered eating. No data is available regarding taste function in women with PCOS. The aim of this study was to assess taste function and eating behavior in patients with PCOS compared to healthy women and investigate potential impact of oral contraceptive (OC) use on those. Forty-four patients with PCOS and 36 age and body-mass-index matched healthy controls were enrolled. Gustatory function was assessed by taste strips (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) and Food Cravings Questionnaire-Trait (FCQ-T), Night Eating Questionnaire (NEQ) and Three Factor Eating Questionnaire-R18 (TFEQ-R18) were applied. All measurements were repeated in patients after receiving an OC along with general lifestyle advice for 3 months. At baseline, PCOS group had lower total taste strip test (TST) scores compared to controls (11.7 ± 2.2 vs. 13.1 ± 1.4; p = 0.001). Subgroup analysis showed lower sour and salty taste scores in PCOS group (2.4 ± 0.9 vs. 2.9 ± 0.7; p = 0.004; and 2.6 ± 1 vs. 3.1 ± 0.7; p = 0.01 respectively). Sweet and bitter taste scores were similar. No difference was determined in eating behavior. Linear regression analysis revealed that hyperandrogenism was significant predictor for total TST score (R2 = 0.22, p < 0.001). Higher free androgen index (FAI) was associated with lower total TST score (p = 0.01). Total TST score, TFEQ-R18 and NEQ scores remained unaltered after treatment in the PCOS group whereas FCQ-T scores showed significant reduction (p = 0.02), mainly due to a decrease in lack of control subscale (p = 0.01). Our results suggest that taste perception is reduced in PCOS, and short-term OC use does not alter taste functions in the syndrome.