Whitney Thore, star of the new TLC show, “My Big Fat Fabulous Life,” is bringing a lot of attention to PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Although the show itself is not focused on her diagnosis and treatment, Whitney discloses PCOS as the cause of her weight gain.
UC Davis estimates that approximately 7 million women suffer from PCOS, yet, most people do not know what PCOS is or how it affects a woman’s body. The PCOS Foundation has listed some of the most common symptoms of PCOS on their website (www.pcosfoundation.org). These are: pelvic pain, irregular periods, multiple cysts on ovaries, insulin resistance, weight gain and difficulty losing weight, thinning hair, dark patches on skin, excessive body hair or facial hair, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and infertility. Additionally, these symptoms may cause depression, anxiety, increased stress, and decreased sex drive.
In Whitney Thore’s case, PCOS caused her to gain a significant amount of weight very rapidly while in college. She talks about not knowing what the problem was (at first) or why she was gaining weight at such an incredible rate; now she understands that weight loss will be a challenge, but she’s doing what is necessary to keep her body (and mind) healthy.
Misdiagnosis is problematic for women with gynecological issues. Some of the symptoms of PCOS mimic other gynecological diseases like Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, and fibroids, so it’s important that all women find a specialist to provide proper diagnosis. Although PCOS, like many other gynecological issues, has no cure, there are many treatments available to help with long term care. These can include hormone balancing, dietary and lifestyle changes, and surgery.