"From your head to the tips of your toes we only have one body, let us all make sure ours are working in tip top condition."
Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, affects millions of people around the world, including as many as 5 million women in the United States. The condition is caused by a hormone imbalance and can result in symptoms like acne, excess body hair, weight gain and issues with fertility. While there is no cure for PCOS, it can be treated and managed with medication and lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.
With so many people struggling with PCOS, quite a few celebrities have decided to open up about their own experiences with the disease. Thankfully, many of these stars have stories of successfully managing their condition, which will hopefully inspire others going through the same thing.
Find out what these celebs had to say about their PCOS diagnosis…
Nikki Bella shared that she was diagnosed with PCOS right before she got pregnant. She explained that doctors had previously told her she would probably need help conceiving a child and she had actually started a conversation about freezing her eggs. Nikki and her now-husband Artem Chigvintsev decided that they would first give things a shot on their own -- and she ended up getting pregnant the first time they tried.
"I go to the doctor, I find out that I have very high testosterone and very low estrogen and I have PCOS. They told me that the day I would want to have babies, I probably would actually need help. I was in the discussion of freezing my eggs. It was right around Halloween, a day or so after, [and Artem Chigvintsev and I had unprotected sex] two nights straight in the moment because I’m like, 'I can’t get pregnant. I need help,’" she said while discussing unexpectedly getting pregnant on an episode of "The Bellas" podcast.
When Lea Michele was diagnosed with PCOS, she says a lot of things in her life began to make sense. While she says the side effects of the condition can be "brutal" like "weight gain and bad skin," Lea has been able to manage her condition primarily through changes to her diet.
"Yes. I went to a great doctor, and the minute she looked at me, she was like, ‘Oh, you have PCOS.' It explained everything. Through diet, I have been able to manage it. But I am very fortunate. There are way more extreme versions of PCOS that women have a lot of difficulty with -- mine is not as intense. Which is why I haven't really talked about it, because there are women who have it so much more intense," she told Health.
Victoria's Secret model Romee Strijd was diagnosed with PCOS after seven years of not having a menstrual cycle. When she learned about the condition, she says she was worried that she wouldn't be able to have a family. Fortunately, Romee has been able to manage her condition with an exercise and diet plan, and is now getting ready to welcome her second child.
"I started to research PCOS and came to the conclusion that mine was not the typical PCOS.. Mine was because of my body being in fight or flight mode.. which means my body was under constant stress. I never felt mentally super stressed so it was hard [to] understand this, but my life consisted of travelling all the time (no biorhythm), working out every day, eating super clean (restricting foods). I think I pressured my body [too] much, and honestly every body is so different but I think my weight was not good for my body to function properly and couldn’t handle the constant traveling…I’m so happy and grateful to say that I got my period back last november," Romee wrote on Instagram.
In 2016, Daisy Ridley revealed that she had been diagnosed with endometriosis when she was just 15. Unfortunately, the pain didn’t completely stop after her diagnosis and her skin got progressively worse. It took eight more years and many doctor appointments for her to finally learn that she also had PCOS.
"To any of you who are suffering with anything, go to a doctor; pay for a specialist; get your hormones tested, get allergy testing; keep on top of how your body is feeling and don't worry about sounding like a hypochondriac. From your head to the tips of your toes we only have one body, let us all make sure ours [are] working in tip top condition, and take help if it's needed," Daisy wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post.
"Pretty Little Liars" actress Sasha Pieterse says she began to realize something was off about her body as a teenager. After experiencing irregular menstrual cycles and unexpectedly gaining 70 pounds, she began searching for answers. She visited numerous gynecologists until it was finally recommended she see an endocrinologist, who helped diagnose her with PCOS.
"There's a lot of symptoms -- like irregular periods, weight gain, impossible to lose weight -- that seem somewhat normal sometimes depending on your lifestyle, but I feel like you have to just go and get it checked. PCOS can lead to ovarian cancer and breast cancer and thyroid issues that could've been avoided. More than half of women have it and they don't even know. It really is a huge issue that I want to share and hopefully help even one person deal with it," she told People.
Keke Palmer had to be her own advocate when it came to getting diagnosed with PCOS. After struggling with adult acne for years and trying numerous treatments, she decided that there must be an underlying condition. Despite seeing multiple doctors, no one was able to help -- until she looked into her family history. Armed with more knowledge, a doctor was finally able to get her a diagnosis.
"It took ME taking a personal look into my family that has a history of diabetes and obesity, to understand what was ACTUALLY happening with me…I do not have a medical degree but I did the research and took what I learned to a doctor and that led them to a proper diagnosis. I’m not saying trust web md for everything haha but what I am saying is no one can help us like we can help ourselves," Keke wrote on Instagram.
It took many years of struggling for Jaime King to finally get her PCOS diagnosis. While trying to get pregnant, she went through five rounds of in vitro fertilization, 26 rounds of intrauterine insemination and experienced five miscarriages -- all finally leading to a doctor diagnosing her. After that doctor’s tireless work to help her suppress the condition, Jaime is now trying to help other women. She recently signed on to be an investor and director of impact for Allara, a chronic care platform offering comprehensive virtual care, including diagnostic testing and consultations with a dietician for women with PCOS.
"When I realized how isolating and how painful and horrific it is and how broken the health care system is, I was like, something has to change here," Jaime told Yahoo.
As a teenager, Jillian Michaels learned she had PCOS when a cyst burst on one of her ovaries. She decided against going on birth control, which can sometimes help manage the condition and ended up experiencing another burst cyst at age 21. From there, she decided to learn as much as she could about the condition and hormone imbalances. When she discovered one of the root causes was linked to insulin resistance, she began to make lifestyle changes that drastically helped her.
"No fake sugars, no processed sugars, no processed grains -- things that drive insulin to the roof. And over time, I pretty much had the situation under control. I haven’t had an issue in about 20 years. It’s about eating right, working out, and eating clean. A lot of chemicals that are in our food wreak havoc on your endocrine system," Jillian told Yahoo.
Victoria Beckham was diagnosed with PCOS while trying to conceive her fourth child. Thanks to fertility treatments, Victoria eventually gave birth to her daughter Harper, but she says the process of getting pregnant was difficult. The fashion designer opened up about the experience, sharing that doing it all in the public eye was a lot of pressure.
"Every time I go out, someone says to me 'Are you pregnant,' and at first I tried to dodge these questions with a vague response and a smile, but now, I have resorted to overt, brutal honesty. I keep that big smile and say something like, 'Actually, I’m struggling with infertility because of my PCOS, so my husband and I have been through several fertility treatments,’" she reportedly told Now magazine at the time.