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15th Aug 2023

Pretty Little Liars’ Sasha Pieterse opens up about PCOS diagnosis

Jody Coffey

Respect to Sasha for bringing awareness to the condition.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), knows the struggle, pain, confusion, and frustration that comes with it.

If you are someone who experiences PCOS, you are likely among many other women in their search for a treatment that offers relief.

One of those women is Pretty Little Liars (PLL) actress Sasha Pieterse, who is best know for playing the iconic role of Alison DiLaurentis on the show.

PCOS is an incurable reproductive hormone imbalance that impacts one in five women of childbearing age in Ireland, according to the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Symptoms of PCOS include: irregular or light period or no periods at all, infertility, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), weight gain, thinning hair/hair loss from the head, and oily skin or acne.

However, despite the long list of symptoms, it can be an uphill battle to diagnose.

The actress, 27, recently got candid about her struggles with it and said she started experiencing symptoms while starring in PLL.

Speaking on The Squeeze podcast with Taylor Lautner and his wife, Taylor, she detailed how the changes in her body were being documented on camera at just 17 years old.

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As a late teen, Sasha says she began noticing a difference in her metabolism, “At 17, I gained 70 pounds in the year, for no reason. There was no explanation for it.”

The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl actress says that outside of the external changes, there were internal signs from her body that something wasn’t tight, “I never had a regular period ever and I was just always told by gynaecologists that I was just young. Like, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll regulate.”

She explained that age wasn’t the only dismissal she received when attending over 15 gynaecologists, “One guy just told me to my face that I was lying, that I must be eating terribly and that I must be doing everything wrong cause [sic] ‘Look at you’. That’s essentially what he said.”

Trusting what her body was telling her, Sasha continued in search of a diagnosis saying she felt ‘weird’ and that every time she exercised she felt like she was going to ‘pass out’ and that she felt ‘physically ill’ when eating things that were supposed to be good for her.

“It was the most frustrating experience, and disheartening, because no matter what I did, no matter how well I behaved, no matter how great I treated my body, things were actually getting worse, rather than better. It was very, very confusing, ” she confessed.

She told the two Taylors that she just wanted ‘someone to test her blood’ and after all her concerns fell on deaf ears, it was recommended that she go see an endocrinologist.

This is when things began to look up for the actress.

Explaining that the female endocrinologist heard her out, she preliminarily diagnosed Sasha with PCOS, pending blood tests.

“The most frustrating thing about this is that it’s fairly easy to diagnose,” she told the hosts, “It’s so easy to see because your testosterone or your oestrogen will be really high. You’ll have really low Vitamin D levels, you’ll be deficient in a lot of things. You won’t have a regular period.”

However, the catch, according to the 27-year-old, is that every women’s experience and symptoms of PCOS looks different.

“Some women have all of them, some women have a couple of them, and some women will have one of them,” she stresses.

Sasha outlined that PCOS can lead to a host of other problems, such as ovarian cancer, types of diabetes, and infertility.

“It’s so sad to me that so many women have it that don’t know. Or, so many women had it that got cancer or couldn’t get pregnant. Or, things that could be avoidable by just trying to manage it and figuring out what’s going to work best for you.”

While PCOS isn’t curable, it is treatable, and in 2023, nobody should have to suffer in silence.

Sasha recommends going to get your bloods checked every six months, just to be in the loop of any deficiencies or signs of PCOS.

More information on PCOS symptoms, treatments, and advice is available on the HSE website and the Women’s Health Clinic.