Whitney Thore is the lovable star of the reality TV show My Big Fat Fabulous Life. The 31-year-old woman from Greensboro, North Carolina has learned to embrace her size – she weighs 380 pounds and is 5’2” tall. She gained 200 pounds in one year. While a theatre student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which caused the weight gain.
PCOS is “a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age.” Symptoms include irregular periods, elevated levels of male hormones (androgen) that would show in excess facial and body hair and/or male-pattern baldness. According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause is unknown but three factors may play a role: excess of insulin, low-grade inflammation, and heredity. Treatment focuses on weight loss (diet, exercise) and doctors tend to prescribe birth control pills to regulate the menstrual cycle and decrease male hormones, which also reduces excessive hair growth. My Big Fat Fabulous Life airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on TLC.
Learn more about Whitney’s NoBodyShameCampaign here.