TV personality and former Love Islander Olivia Bowen has revealed her uncertainty around whether she will be able to have children, because of her underactive thyroid.
On Wednesday’s edition of Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4, the Love Island runner-up who married her reality show love interest, Alex Bowen, two years ago, opened up about the impact of living with an underactive thyroid.
Olivia was speaking to Doctor Javid Abdelmoneim as part of a recurring strand on the show called ‘Celebrity Surgery’, in which the show’s resident doctors help celebrity patients in their quest for better health.
Olivia said: 'I got diagnosed when I was 10. Back then I was good with it, I always took my medication. Whereas now, where I’ve got really busy in the last four years, it has taken a bit of a backseat.'
Explaining the symptoms she experiences, she added: 'I’m one of those people that should take it seriously but don’t… I suffer a lot with tiredness, I think that’s my main thing. I’m always fatigued, I’ll sleep about 10 hours a night and still feel tired, I’ll want to nap in the day. I can have really awful moods, really low, low moods.'
An underactive thyroid can prevent ovulation, making it difficult to become pregnant. Olivia explained her worries about this to Doctor Javid.
'I have a lot of people asking me, "When are you going to have kids, when do you want to get pregnant?" In the back of my head, I’m like "Can I?", because I’ve been so irresponsible. I know how much Alex wants to have kids, so that’s another reason why I need to be a bit more on it and careful, and make sure I’m giving us both the chances.'
Doctor Javid arranged a blood test for Olivia and a consultation with women’s health GP Doctor Yash, who confirmed the test shows Olivia’s thyroid levels are low and she must resume taking medication daily.
Speaking candidly to Doctor Yash, Olivia said: 'My husband and I have been speaking about having a kid next year, possibly. In that case, how does it change?'
On learning she would need to increase her medication dosages during pregnancy and receive close monitoring from medics, Olivia was shocked.
'I had no idea it was that involved… I’m quite a defiant person. I always told myself, "Oh I’m fine, I don’t need", whereas obviously now I know…. Now I know how important it is, I can put that message out to other people and make sure they’re staying on top of it as well, because I know how hard it is and how we sometimes think we don’t need help – but we do.'