Sasha Pieterse’s weight gain is the result of a health condition
Gaining weight for an inexplicable reason is tough on anyone – let alone a teenager on one of the most talked-about shows on TV.
But that’s exactly what happened to 21-year-old Sasha Pieterse, the young blonde best known for playing Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars.
The star’s weight was always talked about
Pieterse first began filming the popular teen drama in 2009, when she was just 13 years old. After several seasons on the show, her weight became a topic of conversation as fans noticed the change.
It wasn’t until joining the 25th season of Dancing with the Stars that Pieterse felt comfortable enough to open up about her health struggles and the cause of her weight gain.
On this week’s episode, the star revealed that she had been diagnosed with a hormone condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (also known as PCOS), which caused her to gain 70 pounds over two years.
Pieterse hopes to bring attention to the disease and its most common signs, which in addition to weight gain, includes irregular periods and difficulty losing weight – things she says “seem somewhat normal sometimes depending on your lifestyle, but I feel like you have to just go and get it checked.”
She also emphasized that “PCOS can lead to ovarian cancer and breast cancer and thyroid issues that could’ve been avoided. More than half of woman 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.”
What you need to know about PCOS
PCOS is a hormone disorder that’s often accompanied by cysts in the ovaries. As Pieterse described, the symptoms include changes in physical appearance (weight gain, extra facial and body hair growth, thinning hair on the scalp, acne). In the long run, it can also lead to diabetes and heart disease.
In order to diagnose PCOS, doctors need to analyze hormone levels in a patient’s blood, along with a physical exam. Some patients may need to have a pelvic ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts.
The bad news is that there’s no cure for the condition, though symptoms can be treated with different medications.
Here are some other stories that might interest you: