Whitney Thore, the 31 year old dancing sensation who set YouTube alight last year when her ‘A Fat Girl Dancing’ video (below) went viral, has opened up about her struggles with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
The best known of the condition’s symptoms are hair loss, irregular periods and obesity, the latter explaining why the American saw her weight rise by more than 14 stone when she was at college.
Despite her somewhat sensationalist moniker, she represents body positivity and encourages others to get into dance and exercise regardless of size. Talking to MailOnline, Miss Thore explained that she has no desire to be thin and is comfortable with how she looks. Continues below
Miss Thore’s diagnosis for PCOS was slow to materialise, as is often the case. MailOnline reports that the clues were irregular periods, thinning hair at the top of her head, excessive hair on her face and weight gain. “I began losing my hair and growing hair on my face,” recalls Miss Thore. “I could have been spared 10 years of depression if I’d been diagnosed earlier.”
One positive to have come from her condition is that Ms Thore landed her own worldwide TV series on the TLC channel, the second series of which has recently begun.
The exact cause of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is unknown: what is certain is that it affects around 5-10 per cent of women of a child-bearing age. As we have noted here previously, it is a condition that can lead to thinning hair in women. Furthermore, what is especially unfortunate for sufferers is that hair loss is also a side effect of some medications prescribed to treat PCOS.
The hair loss condition that can be brought on by PCOS is called Telogen Effluvium and can be brought about by many other illnesses too. It is generally temporary, lasting up to 12 months and occurs when the hair follicles are deprived of vital nutrients for healthy growth. This happens when the body, in an attempt to fight and protect itself from the onset of PCOS, diverts its attention away from all non-essential processes, such as hair growth.
Once the PCOS is under control and being properly managed, shedding should stop and normal hair production resume. The hair should then regrow naturally although treatment for Telogen Effluvium can often help to move this process along.
If the medication being used to treat PCOS lists hair loss as a known side effect, this may temporarily exacerbate the issue but it can still be dealt with as above. Once your body adjusts to the new PCOS treatment, your shedding should stop and the normal hair growth cycle should resume.
Whilst hair fall can be scary, particularly whilst you are already feeling unwell, it is important to try your best not to worry too much as stress will only compound the problem. Stress and Telogen Effluvium are both known to trigger or accelerate Female Pattern Hair Loss in some people with an existing genetic predisposition to this hereditary condition. This is why hair loss from illnesses can create a domino-effect of hair loss - it is even possible for more than one hair loss condition to be present at the same time.
There is help available, however, and a hair loss specialist can work with your doctor to help you figure everything out and provide one-to-one support. In addition to identifying what's causing your thinning, they can tailor a hair loss treatment plan featuring the MHRA and FDA-approved component minoxidil, personalised to your specific needs.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.