Keke Palmer has shared that polycystic ovarian syndrome has been attacking her "from the inside out" for her entire life and causing bad acne that she has dealt with for years.
The actor and television host posted a photo on Instagram Tuesday of the acne she said has been caused by PCOS, while delivering an uplifting message to others who may be struggling with a similar situation.
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PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. The health condition can disrupt a woman’s hormones, menstrual cycles and weight, and there isn’t a single test to screen for it. Signs can include increased acne and facial hair growth due to higher levels of male hormones, along with irregular periods (or no period at all).
"Hey you guys, for some of you this may be TMI, but for me my platform has always been used for things much greater than me," Palmer wrote. "Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome has been attacking me from the inside out my entire life and I had no idea.
"My acne has been so bad that people in my field offered to pay for me to get it fixed. I tried EVERYTHING. I did Accutane TWICE. People say drink water, have a better diet, but I did all that, I ate all the 'right' things, my blood tests were fine. But it took ME taking a personal look into my family that has a history of diabetes and obesity, to understand what was ACTUALLY happening with me."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that PCOS affects 6% to 12% of U.S. womenofreproductive age. Palmer, 27, expressed the frustration that many women with PCOS have felt while going years before receiving a proper diagnosis.
"And unfortunately doctors are people and if you don’t 'look the part' they may not think that’s your problem," she wrote. "They may not even suggest it if you 'look healthy' whatever that means! I came to a doctor in tears once and all they offered was a measles vaccine... Exactly.
"I’m posting this to say that it’s okay and we can help ourselves. My skin has made me sad many nights but I do not give up on myself. I know this is not me and my body has been looking for help. I do not have a medical degree but I did the research and took what I learned to a doctor and that led them to a proper diagnosis. I’m not saying trust web md for everything haha but what I am saying is no one can help us like we can help ourselves."
She thanked her family for their support in helping put her in a position to have the resources to be properly diagnosed. Palmer also delivered an uplifting message for other women who may be experiencing similar symptoms.
"The least harmful thing PCOS can bring is acne," she wrote. "To all the people struggling with this please know you’re not alone and that you are still so f------ fine! MY ACNE AINT NEVER STOPPED ME. But we don’t have accept this. Now I can really help KEKE! And I love her so it’s ON.
"Pray for me on this journey and I will pray for you too. I’m not afraid to show myself to the world and you shouldn’t be either."
PCOS was also featured as a storyline in 2016 on the hit NBC drama "This Is Us," in which Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) gets diagnosed with it and is told by her doctor that combined with her weight it could be contributing to her fertility issues.
Former "Glee" actress Lea Michele also shared last year that she experienced similar issues with acne and also weight gain that led to a diagnosis of PCOS.
"There are way more extreme versions of PCOS that women have a lot of difficulty with — mine is not as intense," she said. "Which is why I haven't really talked about it, because there are women who have it so much more intense."
The main treatment is birth control pills, which can fix many of the issues related to PCOS, according to experts. Oral contraceptives can also help regulate irregular periods and clear up acne by reducing testosterone levels.