Lea Michele details her struggles with polycystic ovary syndrome

ABC News
ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Lea Michele is opening up about a common but little-discussed condition that she shares with thousands of other women: polycystic ovary syndrome.

In a new interview with Health magazine, Michele said that she’s been hesitant to discuss her experience with PCOS, as many others have more “intense” cases.

Although it’s caused weight gain and breakouts, Michele told the magazine, “Through diet, I have been able to manage it.”

“Growing up, I had terrible skin. I went on Accutane three times. I was put on every medication that you could imagine to help my skin. Luckily, birth control was a savior for me when I was in my teens. And then when I was in my late 20s, I realized I wanted to detox my body of all medications,” she said.

“That’s when everything happened — the return to bad skin and, this time, weight gain. I didn’t know what was going on,” she recalled. “All people wanted to do was give me more medication. I don’t shun people for needing or wanting to take medication, but for me, I knew something wasn’t right. I just felt medication wasn’t going to be the final cure.”

Ultimately, a new doctor gave her a diagnosis of PCOS, which explained all her symptoms.

ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton told Good Morning America that the hormone abnormality, which affects one in 10 women, can cause reproductive issues, acne and excess body hair. Ashton also said that women with PCOS are five to seven times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, for reasons not entirely understood.

Ashton added it is crucial for women with PCOS to eat well and keep up with a fitness regimen, as well as keep their weight within a healthy range.

Michele told the magazine that she grew up in a “carb-heavy” household, but is thankful that her mother “kept a clean home.” She also loves workouts “with a spiritual element,” such as SoulCycle and hot yoga.

“I wasn’t raised eating candy or processed food. I’m very grateful that my parents raised me to have a healthy relationship with food,” she said. “Food was family. It was happiness; it was joy. I never looked at food as the enemy. But listen, I’m a New Yorker, and it was definitely carb-heavy — bagels and sandwiches. But I’ve never really been a meat eater. Even as a child, I didn’t like the idea of it.”

Now, Michele says she is “the most mentally, physically, and spiritually sound that I’ve ever been.”

“Around 30, my metabolism changed, and I suddenly gained weight and felt out of control. That was a moment where I had to think, ‘OK, I’m older and things are not going to be the same as they were before.’ So I took the time to listen to my body and figure out what it needed,” she said. “Now, I’m 33 and so happy with my body. My husband thinks I’m the most beautiful girl in the world, which is pretty great. But it’s most about how I feel in my own skin — and I feel truly great.”

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