Pretty Little Liars' Sasha Pieterse Recalls Gaining 70 Pounds at Age 17 Amid PCOS Journey

Pretty Little Liars star Sasha Pieterse shared her struggle with PCOS and the symptoms that came along with her diagnosis, calling the experience "frustrating" and "disheartening."

By Alexandra Bellusci Aug 09, 2023 10:18 PMTags
Watch: "Pretty Little Liars" Star Sasha Pieterse Is Pregnant

Sasha Pieterse isn't keeping her health journey a secret. 

The Pretty Little Liars star recently opened up about her struggle with a hormone condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and how it affected her since her teen years and while playing Alison DiLaurentis on the hit ABC family show.

"This is part of the health issues that I was speaking of while I was going through Pretty Little Liars," Sasha recalled on The Squeeze podcast Aug. 9. "So when I mean it was documented it was like, the changes that were happening to me were documented on camera."

Giving insight to what was happening to her body at the time, the 27-year-old added, "I never had a regular period ever and I was just always told by gynecologists that I was just young. Like, ‘Don't worry, it'll regulate.'"

But that wasn't the case for Sasha.

"When I turned, it was probably around 15-16, that I started noticing a difference in just my metabolism in general," she continued. "At 17, I gained 70 pounds in the year, for no reason. There was no explanation for it."

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However, Sasha felt that she wasn't being heard despite visiting "over 15 gynecologists," some of which blamed her for her weight gain, and felt the course of action should include testing her blood.

"It was the most frustrating experience and disheartening because no matter what I did, no matter how well I behave, no matter how great I treated my body, things were actually getting worse rather than better, it was very very confusing," she confessed to hosts Taylor Lautner and wife Tay Lautner. "So after a long process…someone recommended that I go to an endocrinologist."

The doctor then told Sasha she had PCOS and would have to do a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. Sasha said she wasn't aware of PCOS before her experience.

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"I was like what's that? I'd never heard of PCOS before. And it's a disease, it's not curable, it can be dormant, that's—at this stage—that's what they know," the Geek Charming actress explained. "And the most frustrating part about this is that it's fairly easy to diagnose. And really what it is, it's a hormone imbalance, it's a hormone disease and it's so easy to see because your testosterone or your estrogen will be really high, you'll have really low vitamin D levels, you'll be deficient in a lot of things."

But that isn't all that PCOS affects.

As Sasha put it, "You won't have a regular period, but the catch is, a lot of other things look different, so every woman everyone has a different experience with it. It could be your period, it could be weird hair growth, it could major gastro issues, it could be crazy cysts on your ovaries, it could be weight gain…I had a lot of those outward symptoms that everyone could see."

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Flash forward to 2020, and the star revealed she was expecting her first baby, son Hendrix, with husband Hudson Sheaffer, and how thankful she was to get pregnant despite her diagnosis. 

"Just the fact that we were able to get pregnant was such a blessing because with PCOS that made me nervous," she told People in July 2020. "A lot of women have infertility issues and so we were expecting more difficulty, so it's been an absolute blessing that we were able to just get pregnant by ourselves."