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A diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) caused Sasha Pieterse, Pretty Little Liars star and current Dancing with the Stars contestant, to gain 70 pounds in a mere two years. Weight gain, even with regular exercise, is one of the most common symptoms of the hormonal disorder, which can also cause irregular periods.
Pieterse is now using her fame — and Dancing With The Stars platform — to bring awareness to this women's health issue. She credits the competition show with helping her to lose 15 pounds so far, telling Us Weekly:
“I was exercising like crazy and was eating the best that I could before. This just heightens it. It's a combination. It's a combination of me finding out what I have, and then Dancing with the Stars helps me tremendously. Having Gleb [Savchenko] as a partner. He's amazing. But just the process in general – how hard we're working and how healthy I feel. I really feel like myself again."
The actress, who is set to reprise her role on the new Pretty Little Liars spinoff The Perfectionists, said it wasn't easy revealing her condition on national television, but she has received support from her fellow competitors:
"I’ve never really done that before. I’ve never really been on a show like this. I’ve never that experience. Having Gleb and everyone at Dancing with the Stars be so supportive of me and having that outlet means a lot. The fact that I can open up and share this with people and hopefully bring awareness to PCOS is really all I can ask for. This has been an amazing experience.”
Because PCOS can lead to breast cancer and ovarian cancer, along with thyroid issues, Pieterse urged women to go to the doctor if they are having any of its symptoms:
“There are all these things that seem somewhat normal sometimes depending on your lifestyle, but I feel like you have to just go and get it checked. If you have a hormone imbalance, it can definitely be PCOS and that can lead to ovarian cancer and breast cancer and thyroid issues and many things later that could've been avoided.”
Bringing the hormonal disorder to the forefront showed the actress's courage, and she has undoubtedly offered hope to women who've been affected.
For more information on polycystic ovarian syndrome, visit PCOS Awareness Association.
[Source: US Magazine]