Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, the condition that affects one in three women in the UK
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work.
The three main features of PCOS are:
Irregular periods – which means the ovaries don’t regularly release eggs (ovulation). This can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant.
Excess androgen – high levels of ‘male hormones’ in the body, which may cause physical signs such as excess facial or body hair.
Polycystic ovaries – the ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs (follicles) which surround the eggs (it’s important to note that, despite the name, if you have PCOS you don’t actually have cysts).
Source: NHS Choices
She ‘We hit it off straight away and I thought he was very nice. I had no idea he was a footballer to start with until I began seeing him on the TV.
‘We started going out for dinners. I would always pay because he didn’t have much money. He would come and pick me up in his tiny, blue Citroën Saxo. It was a simple life,’ she said.
The couple share two children together – twins Georgie and Summer, both 16.
Back in 2019, Toni bravely opened up about her three-year struggle to fall pregnant, telling ITV’s Lorraine Kelly about the difficult conversation she had with John about the future of their relationship.
Toni said: ‘I got diagnosed with PCOS – polycystic ovary syndrome – and it was a big shock, I didn’t have any symptoms. I just thought it wasn’t happening.’
‘We then went down the course of IVI – which is slightly different to IVF – and we fell pregnant. But it was really tough. It took me three years to fall pregnant.’
‘I remember having a conversation with John, saying ‘Listen, if I can’t have children, are we going to be okay? Are you happy with this?’
‘And of course he was 100% fine, and said it will just be us, we’ll have loads of fun. But luckily, thank God, we had Georgie and Summer, my babies, so I was so happy.’
PCOS affects about one in every 10 women in the UK, according to the NHS.
The condition, which Toni has, affects the function of the ovaries – causing irregular periods and ovulation, enlarged ovaries which contain fluid-filled sacs, and high levels of testosterone which can cause excess facial and body hair.
Symptoms include: irregular periods or no periods at all, difficulty getting pregnant, excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks, weight gain, thinning hair and hair loss from the head and oily skin or acne.
These symptoms usually become apparent in a woman’s late teens or early 20s – however, the NHS estimate that more than half of women with PCOS do not have any symptoms.
There’s no cure for PCOS, but the symptoms can be treated. Speak to a GP if you think you may have the condition.
‘Thank God’: The couple now share two children together – twins Georgie and Summer, both 16, after Toni struggled to conceive due to suffering from PCOS