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Gemma Collins has been praised for speaking candidly with fans about her battle with polycystic ovary syndrome in a new Instagram post.
The 38-year-old Only Way Is Essex star shared a throwback picture of herself in her 20s, revealing that the condition had subsequently caused her to put on weight, and had left her battling with her confidence ever since.
"As you can see guys when I was in my 20s I was very slim then I was told I had PCOS and it's been a struggle ever since," she wrote.
"However I make the most of myself and remain positive because it's what in your heart counts the most...
She added: "Sending love to all the PCOS sufferers it's not easy and always be kind people people are not always over weight because of all the stereo typical bullying comments !!!".
Reflecting on her journey to loving her body, Gemma continued: "I CHOSE to RISE ABOVE and continued to promote body confidence even when I had my own personal struggles and the secret to my success was just being ME !
"Lots of people have bullied me taunted me and also early on in the industry loose weight...Your too fat to promote my brand !!! It's endless !!!
"Cough cough .... where are you people now. WHERE AM I, RISE HIGHER. Always BELIEVE IN YOU. my heart has always been the same no matter of my size (sic)."
Gemma isn't alone in her battle with PCOS. In fact, one in five women suffer from the condition, which can also cause irregular periods or no periods at all, and excessive hair growth on the face, chest, back and backside in more severe cases.
Those with PCOS can also find it harder to get pregnant, and face increased risk of developing health issues like type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol later in life.
Flocking to the comments, Gemma's celeb pals and supporters were quick to brand her an "inspiration," and offer her some words of support.
Actress Helen Flanagan commented telling Gem she was "stunning whatever [her] dress size," while TOWIE's Vas Morgan agreed, writing: "Beautiful then and beautiful now".
"Really inspirational for all of us who struggle with PCOS," wrote a fan, while another penned: "Yes Gemma! I love this post.
"I've always struggled with me weight threw PCOS. And after actually managing to have a baby getting the weight back off is an unreal struggle! But because you can't see it people don't realise it's there.
"And I don't feel like I should have to explain to everyone why I weigh more than I should. I'm happy that's the end of it!"
Well done to the GC for using her platform for good!
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