- 10 Celebs Open Up About Their Struggles With Endometriosis
- Meet 11 celebrities bravely battling endometriosis in the public eye
- Alexa Chung
- Daisy Ridley
- News Scotland becomes second Endometriosis Friendly Employer in UK – here’s how to join the Endometriosis UK scheme
- Dolly Parton
- Emma Bunton
- Lena Dunham
- Louise Redknapp
- Sacha Parkinson
- Saira Khan
- Sarah Hyland
- Susan Sarandon
- 12 celebrities who have opened up about having endometriosis
- 7 Celebrities Who Have Endometriosis: Lena Dunham and More
- 1. Jaime King
- 2. Padma Lakshmi
- 3. Lena Dunham
- 4. Halsey
- 5. Julianne Hough
- 6. Tia Mowry
- 7. Susan Sarandon
- You’re not alone
- 10 Things You Can Learn About Endometriosis From Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Stories
- 1. Endometriosis means that uterine tissue is growing in the wrong place
- 2. It’s the leading cause of infertility in women
- 3. It can also cause miscarriages
- 5. Diagnosis can take years
- 8 Celebrities Who Are Spreading the Word About the Pain of Dealing with Endometriosis
10 Celebs Open Up About Their Struggles With Endometriosis
Endometriosis is way more common than you'd think, considering how little we talk about the condition. One in every 10 women in the U.S. is affected by endometriosis, and 176 million women worldwide have the disorder.
The disorder, in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it, is often extremely painful. Endometriosis can make having sex and using the bathroom uncomfortable or agonizing, cause painful periods and may even lead to fertility problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In recent months, a series of prominent women, including Padma Lakshmi and Lena Dunham, have spoken publicly about their personal battles with the disorder. Their voices are important because, as Lakshmi put it, “If I don’t talk about it — or women me don’t talk about it — what hope does the next generation of young girls have?”
In other words, in order to de-stigmatize and raise awareness about endometriosis, we have to keep talking about it. Below, find 10 powerful women who used their voices and spoke bravely about their battles living with the condition.
Lakshmi, who was diagnosed at 36, is an outspoken advocate for education about the disease. She is also the co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America. Lakshmi recently told Entertainment Weekly that the condition may have contributed to her divorce from author Salman Rushie. “I think, yes, endometriosis was definitely a major reason that my marriage failed,” she said.
“I don’t think either of us understood it at the time – for as smart and intelligent as Salman is. I think that’s also because I hid it to a certain degree. Not intentionally, but it’s weird to talk about your period all the time. It’s the least sexy thing in the world to do.”
The 21-year-old “New Americana” singer recently opened up about her battle with endometriosis with a very inspiring message. She wrote:
“Emo moment; but if any of you suffer from Endometriosis please know you aren’t alone. I know how excruciatingly painful it can be and how discouraging the disease can be. To feel it’s gonna limit you because of how debilitating it is. To miss school and work, or even worse to GO and suffer through it anyway feeling a prisoner in your own body.
To maybe be worried about ‘never having kids,’ or dealing with crazy treatment suggestions. I was recently diagnosed after years of suffering and finding myself doubled over backstage in the middle of my sets, or fighting back tears on an airplane, or even being in so much pain I would vomit or faint.
With doctors essentially telling me I was being a big baby about my period, or misdiagnosing PCOS, etc etc. Finding out that I have endo was the most bittersweet moment because it meant I wasn’t crazy! I wasn’t a ‘baby’! I had every right to be feeling the world was caving in. But it was terrifying to find out. Just know I’m here if you want to vent.
I have managed to live a wild, incredible, and unpredictable life with Endo, and I’m here for you! x”
Goldberg has known about her endometriosis for a long time, and was surprised to learn that so many women lacked knowledge about the condition.
“It never occurred to me that somehow women didn't know about it,” she said at the Endo Foundation's 2009 Blossom Ball.
“You have to take whatever stigma people think that is there,” she said the same evening. “You have to take it. It’s not male or female. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with, here’s a disease you don’t know about and you need to know about it. It’s that simple. It’s not rocket science.”
She continues to be an advocate for raising awareness.
The “Girls” star announced she'll be skipping the press tour for the newest season of the HBO series because of endometriosis.
“I am currently going through a rough patch with the illness and my body (along with my amazing doctors) let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it's time to rest,” Dunham wrote in an Instagram post.
Soon after the post, Dunham was hospitalized for a ruptured ovarian cyst.
She wrote of her condition earlier in her 2014 memoir Not That Kind Of Girl, describing the pain as feeling “someone had poured a drop of vinegar inside of me, followed by a sprinkle of baking soda. It bubbled and fizzed and went where it would.”
Because of her endometriosis, Mowry underwent two surgeries and changed her lifestyle in order to conceive.
“Despite my diagnosis I still wanted to try and have a baby, but not being able to have kids was an immediate fear,” she told Parents. “It made me feel control.”
The famous twin now has positively adorable four-year-old son, Cree.
“When all you know is pain you don’t know that that is not normal,” said Sarandon, who became aware of her condition in 1983 and has given advice for men on how they can help.
Sarandon suffered from irregular bleeding and fainting. Though doctors told her she wouldn't be able to bear children, the acclaimed actress beat the odds and has given birth to three.
“It is not a woman’s lot to suffer, even if we’ve been raised that way,” she said at the 2011 Blossom Ball, adding, “Suffering should not define you as a woman. And just because you’re a man it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect you.
“Help [the woman in your life] to remove the taboos and the loneliness surrounding this disease; be understanding, show empathy, and don’t accuse her of being sensitive, delicate, or overly dramatic – this is a big opportunity for you guys to show that you care and to be a real man.”
When Hough's intense stomach pains turned out to be endometriosis, she was surprised. “It felt a knife was being stabbed in me,” she told People. “I know more than anything I want to be a mom and have kids,” she said. “That's so important to me.” The star underwent laparoscopic surgery in the middle of the 2008 season of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Hough wrote about the event on her blog the same month. “Last week was more than just a tummy ache,” she wrote. “It turned out I ruptured a cyst that was on my ovary.
I didn’t know, but I have endometriosis. I’ve apparently had it for a long time because I’ve had this pain for about the last five years. It hasn’t been as bad.
Up till last week, I let it go and I was always too busy to get it checked out.”
During a 35-date tour in 1982, the country star was taken to the hospital to have a partial hysterectomy related to her endometriosis. She says she suffered from depression after learning she would not be able to have children.
“It was an awful time for me,” she said. “Every day I thought, 'I wish I had the nerve to kill myself.'”
In 2007, the author wrote that she was shocked to discover she had endometriosis. “[It] came as a shocking blow, of course, because I never even knew I had endometriosis. As a cybercondriac, it kills me that I’ve apparently had a disease for twenty-eight years and never even knew it. That is just so wrong.”This strong lady was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 28. She told Mom Logic that she learned early on pregnancy was going to be difficult for her. “I was always told that fertility would/could be a problem for me. Why do I have this? I’ve heard everything from “You have too much caffeine in your body” to “It’s genetic” to “You need to be put on birth control pill” — and I don’t believe in using synthetic hormones. In order to get pregnant, I know it would require surgery. For me, it becomes a sort of 'I can’t handle doing that.'”
Michaels became the mom of two children in 2012: A daughter adopted from Haiti and a son carried by partner Heidi Rhoades.
The “Star Wars” actress was diagnosed when she was 15. She opened up about her experience with the condition and polycystic ovarian syndrome on Instagram, where she praised the benefits of self-care.
“Keep on top of how your body is feeling and don't worry about sounding a hypochondriac,” she wrote. “From your head to the tips of your toes we only have one body, let us all make sure ours our working in tip top condition, and take help if it's needed.”
10 Celebs Who've Been Touched By Skin Cancer
Meet 11 celebrities bravely battling endometriosis in the public eye
ONE in 10 women suffer from endometriosis across the UK.
The debilitating condition means tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis affects one in 10 women across the UKCredit: Alamy
And endo isn't picky.
Endometriosis can affect women of any age – including some of the world's biggest celebrities.
Here we look at 11 famous women using their public platforms to raise awareness about the invisible illness.
Credit: The Mega Agency
Fashion icon Alexa Chung was praised for sharing her endometriosis diagnosis on social media.
The 36-year-old model and designer revealed she is battling the agonising condition in a post on Instagram in July.
She told followers: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member, but here I am. #endometriosisclub #lifelongmembership sorryifyouhaveittooitsucks”
The post, which has more than 65,000 s, prompted an outpouring of love and support from dozens of women with the same condition.
Credit: Splash News
Daisy has spoken honestly about her skin and health issues on social media since achieving fame in her role of Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The 27-year-old has struggled with endometriosis and polycystic ovaries, and the conditions have caused her problems with her complexion.
Posting on social media, she said: “At 15 I was diagnosed with endometriosis.
“One laparoscopy, many consultations and 8 years down the line, pain was back (more mild this time!) and my skin was THE WORST.”
News Scotland becomes second Endometriosis Friendly Employer in UK – here’s how to join the Endometriosis UK scheme
After trying countless products and antibiotics, Daisy went on to discover she also has polycycstic ovaries.
She went on to say she had cut down on diary and tried to get rid of sugar in her diet to help with her health.
Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Country legend Dolly Parton underwent a partial hysterectomy in the 80s after being diagnosed with endometriosis.
Speaking out about her life-changing surgery for the first time in 2008, Dolly admitted it made her feel suicidal.
She said: “It was an awful time for me.
“Every day I thought 'I wish I had the nerve to kill myself'.”
Credit: PA:Press Association
Singer-songwriter Emma was diagnosed with endometriosis aged 25 and was warned she only had a 50:50 chance of becoming a mum.
Luckily, she did Strictly Come Dancing – in 2006, finishing in third place – where she was the “fittest she'd ever been and fell pregnant naturally”.
The Spice Girl star added: “I was so pleased, because obviously it's a scary time and you're not sure how it's going to end.”
Mum of two Emma, aka Baby Spice, said the condition disappeared after she had children.
Halsey has been public about her endometriosis battleCredit: PA:Press Association
The Without Me hitmaker has spoken openly about her endometriosis and shared the “reality” of living with the condition with her fans.
The American singer has been battling the medical condition for some time and even opted to have her eggs frozen aged 23.
She said: “I can’t pretend any more. I can’t pretend that just because I’m a pop artist and I’m touring, that everything’s perfect and everything’s all good and my skin’s always great and I’m always fit and my outfits are always perfect.
There are many different symptoms of endometriosis and they can vary in intensity. Some women with endometriosis will have no symptoms at all.
The most common symptoms are:
- Painful periods
- Painful sex
- Painful bowel movements
Other symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Frequent infections such as thrush
- Feeling faint/fainting during periods
You can find out more about endometriosis symptoms here.
“Sometimes I’m bloated, I’m on an I.V., I’m sick, I’m on medicine, and I’m backstage, terrified that I’m going to bleed through my clothes in the middle of my show. That’s the reality of it.”
The singer later described her endo diagnosis as a “bittersweet moment” – because she wasn't going crazy, and her pain was real.
Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The creator and star of hit HBO series Girls once described her endometriosis pain as “a fire slashing through her uterus”.
Lena, 33, has battled the condition for more than a decade and had eight surgeries before undergoing a total hysterectomy.
Last year, the actress discussed her decision to undergo the radical surgery in a personal essay for Vogue.
Credit: Getty – Contributor
Louise, 45, struggled to conceive in her 20s before being diagnosed with endometriosis, which can cause infertility in severe cases.
She had to go through laser surgery to have Charley, and during pregnancy developed chloasma, a facial pigmentation.
It took the Strictly Come Dancing star four years to conceive hereldest son, Charley, now 15.
But after the heartache of those fertility problems, second son Beau, now 11, came along surprisingly easily.
Louise, who split from ex-footballer turned pundit Jamie Redknapp in 2017 – said: “It's hard having kids. It took me a long time to have Charley and, when he was born, it was a massive shock to the system.
Credit: Instagram/Sacha Parkinson
Ex-Coronation Street star Sacha, 27, felt 'period pains' every day for THREE YEARS during her endo battle.
The award-winning actress, who played Sian Powers on the Cobbles for two years, laid bare her ordeal in a lengthy Instagram post to support Endometriosis Awareness Month.
She shared a photo of herself in hospital and revealed the condition left her feeling period- pains every day for three years before she underwent “life-changing” surgery to remove cysts last year.
Sacha also revealed her mum is an endo warrior – being forced to have a hysterectomy aged 24.
In a parting message to others suffering from the condition, she said: “Listen to your body. Help others listen to theirs.
“And help create a wider awareness. It's an invisible condition but very much a real one.”
Credit: Splash News
Loose Women star Saira was diagnosed with the chronic condition in 2009 after four years of trying to have a baby.
The mum-of-two was told her chances of conceiving naturally were less than five per cent because of the scarring on her fallopian tubes.
Saira and her husband Steve decided to have IVF and fortunately fell pregnant with her son Zak the first tine.
But the second time round the treatment failed and she decided to adopt her daughter Amara from an orphanage in Pakistan.
Saira opened up about her experience with the condition on Instagram in March, as part of endometriosis awareness month, with a picture of her gorgeous family.
The 49-year-old said: “I wanted to share this photo to support all the ladies out there who have endometriosis and want to become a mum.
“Please don’t give up. Infertility does not automatically mean no children – adoption is a beautiful way to start and complete your family.”
Credit: Splash News
Modern Family star Sarah Hyland has been very candid about her endometriosis struggles in the past.
The American actress has bravely battled the condition while also undergoing two kidney transplants and a hernioa op.
At the end of 2018, she revealed to SELF Magazine that she struggles to work when she has a flare-up.
She said: “It affects so many women, and so many women go undiagnosed and just think that they’re having horrible cramps and they’re being dramatic because that’s what they’re told.
The Scottish Sun Online has teamed up with Endometriosis UK to raise awareness of endometriosis, a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful periods and affects one in 10 UK women.
The campaign will run on The Scottish Sun website until March 2020 -Endometriosis Awareness Month – and will tell the stories of women living with endo.
News Scotland, which includes The Scottish Sun, The Times Scotland and The Sunday Times Scotland, is also delighted to announce it has become the second official Endometriosis Friendly Employer in the UK.
By March we hope to have signed up 100 new businesses – read how easy it is to do so here and join us!
Follow the campaign at www.thescottishsun.co.uk/endo and join in the conversation on , and Instagram.
“[This week] I've had a flare-up with my endo. It has been hard to stand up straight, let alone work.”
“But the fetal position helps a lot.”
After an outpouring of support from fans, she added: “Hopefully those that are lucky enough not to experience this will learn about something new and take a moment to appreciate their health.
“Thank you so much to all the love and light I have received today. I love you all.”
Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The Oscar-winning actress delivered a withering put-down to medics when talking about her “half-assed diagnosis”.
The 73-year-old also urged women not to let the condition rob them of a good life but admitted she was “one of the lucky ones” after going on to have three kids.
She had the biggest impact on endo warriors when she challenged men to step up and make a difference during a speech.
Speaking at an Endometriosis Foundation event in 2011, she said: “Suffering should not define you as a woman. And just because you’re a man it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect you.
“Help her to remove the taboos and the loneliness surrounding this disease; be understanding, show empathy, and don’t accuse her of being sensitive, delicate, or overly dramatic – this is a big opportunity for you guys to show that you care and to be a real man.”
Endometriosis patients could be at greater risk of coronavirus, experts warnEndo is as common as asthma & talking about it is therapy on speed – so talkGlasgow endometriosis mum who's had 74 ops left with hole in stomach for 6 weeksI was diagnosed with 'worst case' of endometriosis ever seen after years of painEmmerdale star reveals she's petrified of sex after endo pain made lung collapseSinger shares graphic image to show devastating reality of having endometriosis
In other endometriosis news, these are the symptoms to look out for.
Here's how you can get your employer officially signed up as an endo friendly workplace.
And Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen has spoken out about her pregnancy fears after her endometriosis diagnosis.
Ex Coronation Street star Sacha Parkinson reveals she collapsed from endometriosis pain
Do you have endometriosis and want to share your story? Email email@example.com or contact us on / .
You can also find out more about becoming an Endometriosis Friendly Employer here.
12 celebrities who have opened up about having endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disease that causes a person's uterine lining to form outside of their uterus, rather than inside. It can cause severe cramps, a heavy flow, painful sex, and even infertility, among other symptoms.
Here are 12 celebrities that have opened up about their experience with endometriosis, the disease that affects roughly 200 million women in the world.
Goldberg has been candid about dealing with the painful disease. Kevork Djansezian/Getty
Goldberg has long been an advocate of more education regarding endometriosis and period pain management. She even has her own line of CBD (cannabidiol) products, including balms, tinctures, and bath salts, to help with painful menstrual cramps.
At the 2009 Endometriosis Foundation Blossom Ball, Goldberg spoke and said that it “never occurred to me that somehow women didn't know about it.”
She continued, “You have to take whatever stigma people think that is there … You have to take it. It's not male or female. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with, here's a disease you don't know about and you need to know about it. It's that simple. It's not rocket science.”
Padma Lakshmi is often outspoken about endometriosis. Theo Wargo/Getty Images
Lakshmi — a model, actress, and writer — said she found out that she had endometriosis at 36 years old and admitted that it contributed to her 2007 divorce to Salman Rushdie.
“I think, yes, endometriosis was definitely a major reason that my marriage failed,” Lakshmi told Entertainment Weekly (EW).
“I don't think either of us understood it at the time — for as smart and intelligent as Salman is. I think that's also because I hid it to a certain degree.
Not intentionally, but it's weird to talk about your period all the time. It's the least sexy thing in the world to do.”
She also co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America to continue to make more people aware of the disease. She told EW, “If I don't talk about it — or women me don't talk about it — what hope does the next generation of young girls have?”
Jillian Michaels said she wishes she was more transparent following her diagnosis. Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
The famous trainer was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, both of which affected her fertility.
“I was always told that fertility would/could be a problem for me. Why do I have this? … In order to get pregnant, I know it would require surgery. For me, it becomes a sort of 'I can't handle doing that,'” she told Momlogic.
In 2012, she and her partner at the time, Heidi Rhoades, adopted a daughter from Haiti the same week Rhoades gave birth to their son.
Michaels has also discussed how she wishes she had been more transparent with her diagnosis, telling Redbook magazine in 2010, “I thought if I talked about my personal limitations, people would say, 'How healthy could she be?' This was my weakness and my bad.”
Lena Dunham has spoken extensively about her health. Frederick M Brown/Getty Images
Dunham has been very open about her struggles with endometriosis, including penning an op-ed in one of her Lenny Letters in 2015 called “The Sickest Girl,” the title she got from missing so many days of school due to her diagnosis and other health issues. In the op-ed, she revealed she struggled for years before a doctor was able to give her a proper diagnosis which led to laparoscopic surgery.
She concluded her piece with “Being a woman is the best thing that ever happened to me. But I also hope for a future in which the pain of teenage girls is fully investigated, taken as seriously as a broken leg.”
She also opened up on Instagram in 2016, writing, “I am currently going through a rough patch with the illness and my body (along with my amazing doctors) let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it's time to rest … So many women with this disease literally don't have the option of time off and I won't take it for granted.”
In 2018, Dunham underwent another surgery, this time a full hysterectomy, an operation that removes a person's uterus.
She penned a piece about the experience for Vogue, writing, “Because I had to work so hard to have my pain acknowledged, there was no time to feel fear or grief. To say goodbye.
I made a choice that never was a choice for me, yet mourning feels a luxury I don't have.”
Julianne Hough was diagnosed while filming “Dancing with the Stars.” Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Hough, an actress and dancer, had abdominal pains so severe, she told People magazine, “it felt a knife was being stabbed in me,” before being diagnosed with endometriosis.
She wrote in her blog: “It turned out I ruptured a cyst that was on my ovary. I didn't know, but I have endometriosis. I've apparently had it for a long time because I've had this pain for about the last five years. It hasn't been as bad. Up till last week, I let it go and I was always too busy to get it checked out.”
She had laparoscopic surgery in the middle of a “Dancing with the Stars” season in 2008 and following the surgery said, “I'm right where I belong, and I’m so grateful to be here.”
Read more: Julianne Hough shared her top tips for living with endometriosis
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7 Celebrities Who Have Endometriosis: Lena Dunham and More
According to the Office on Women’s Health, about 11 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have endometriosis. That’s not a small number. So why do so many of these women end up feeling isolated and alone?
Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility. It can also contribute to chronic pain. But the personal nature of these health issues, along with a sense of stigma around them, means that people don’t always open up about what they’re experiencing. As a result, many women feel alone in their fight against endometriosis.
That’s why it means so much when women in the public eye open up about their own experiences with endometriosis. These celebrities are here to remind those of us with endometriosis that we’re not alone.
1. Jaime King
A busy actress, Jaime King opened up to People magazine in 2015 about having polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. She’s been open about her battles with infertility, miscarriages, and her use of in vitro fertilization ever since. Today she’s mom to two little boys after fighting many years for that title.
2. Padma Lakshmi
In 2018, this author, actress, and food expert wrote an essay for NBC News about her experience with endometriosis. She shared that because her mom also had the disease, she’d been raised to believe the pain was normal.
In 2009, she started the Endometriosis Foundation of America with Dr. Tamer Seckin. She’s been working tirelessly ever since to raise awareness for the disease.
3. Lena Dunham
This actress, writer, director and producer is also a long-time fighter of endometriosis. She’s been vocal about her many surgeries, and has written at length about her experiences.
In early 2018, she opened up to Vogue about her decision to have a hysterectomy. That caused a bit of an uproar — with many arguing a hysterectomy wasn’t the best choice at her age. Lena didn’t care. She’s continued to be vocal about what’s right for her and her body.
The Grammy-winning singer has shared postsurgery photos on her Instagram, shedding light on her experiences with endometriosis.
“A lot of people are taught to believe the pain is normal,” she said at the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s Blossom Ball. Her goal was to remind women that endometriosis pain isn’t normal, and that they should “demand that someone takes you seriously.” Halsey even froze her eggs at 23 years old in an attempt to provide fertility options for her future.
5. Julianne Hough
The actress and two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion doesn’t shy away from talking about endometriosis. In 2017, she told Glamour that bringing awareness to the disease is something she’s very passionate about. She’s shared about how she initially mistook the pain as normal. She’s even opened up about how endometriosis has impacted her sex life.
6. Tia Mowry
The actress was still a teen when she first starred in “Sister, Sister.” Years later, she’d begin to experience pain that was eventually diagnosed as endometriosis.
She’s since talked about her struggle with infertility as a result of endometriosis. In October 2018, she wrote an essay about her experience. There, she called on the black community to talk more about the disease so that others could be diagnosed sooner.
7. Susan Sarandon
Mother, activist, and actress Susan Sarandon has been active in the Endometriosis Foundation of America. Her speeches discussing her experience with endometriosis are inspiring and hopeful. She wants all women to know that the pain, bloating and nausea are not OK and that “suffering should not define you as a woman!”
You’re not alone
These seven women are just a small sample of the celebrities who have spoken out about their experiences living with endometriosis. If you have endometriosis, you’re definitely not alone. The Endometriosis Foundation of America can be a great resource of support and information.
Leah Campbell is a writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. A single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter, Leah is also author of the book “Single Infertile Female” and has written extensively on the topics of infertility, adoption, and parenting. You can connect with Leah via , her website, and .
10 Things You Can Learn About Endometriosis From Celebrities Who Have Shared Their Stories
Endometriosis is a painful condition that affects about 1 in 10 women of reproductive age — so it makes sense that plenty of celebrities are living and speaking out about the disease.
Some Hollywood elites have partnered with organizations dedicated to raising awareness about endometriosis, while others have simply used social media to vent or seek encouragement from fellow patients.
Either way, hearing about those personal experience with endometriosis can teach us a lot about this sometimes debilitating condition. Here are a few things we’ve learned from celebs over the years.
1. Endometriosis means that uterine tissue is growing in the wrong place
Tia Mowry was in her late 20s when she learned she had endometriosis, according to an essay the actress and cookbook author wrote last year for Women's Health.
Multiple doctors dismissed her symptoms, until she finally found a physician who took her seriously.
“She explained that endometriosis occurs when the tissue that belongs inside your uterus grows on the outside instead,” Mowry wrote.
Tatnai Burnett, a gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic who has not treated any of the celebrities mentioned here, told BuzzFeed Health that endometriosis pain can flare every month when endometrial cells break down during a woman’s period. “In the uterus, women shed that tissue every month through menstruation,” Burnett said. “When those cells are growing outside of the uterus, there’s nowhere for them to go.”
2. It’s the leading cause of infertility in women
When Mowry received her diagnosis, she was suddenly faced with the prospect that she might not be able to have children. (Luckily, after getting treatment for her condition, the star has gone on to have two adorable kiddos.)
Not everyone is so fortunate. Endometriosis is the leading cause of infertility in women, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, a nonprofit co-founded by Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi.
“Endometriosis can damage the fallopian tubes, or the inflammation caused by the disease can also affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant,” Burnett said. But many women with endometriosis can have healthy pregnancies, he adds, sometimes with the help of fertility treatments.
Lakshmi herself has endometriosis, and also thought she might have difficulty getting pregnant. “I was told I would never have children naturally, that I only had a 10 to 15 percent [chance] of having them in vitro,” she told People in 2015. In 2010 she gave birth to a daughter, which she called “a miracle.”
3. It can also cause miscarriages
Getting pregnant can be difficult enough for women with endometriosis, but they also face an increased risk of complications while they’re expecting.
The actress Gabrielle Union-Wade revealed in her 2017 memoir that she suffered “eight or nine miscarriages” because of adenomyosis — a type of endometriosis in which endometrial tissue grows into the walls of the uterus. In 2018, Union-Wade and husband Dwayne Wade welcomed a daughter via surrogate.
Julianne Hough recently opened up to Women’s Health about how endometriosis affects her sex life with her husband. “It can definitely cut things short,” the actress and Dancing With the Stars champ said. “Sometimes we're in the middle and I’m just 'AH, stop!'”
Pain with intercourse can be frustrating, but Hough and her husband work around it by finding other ways to get frisky. “There’s so much intimacy without actually having sex,” she said.
5. Diagnosis can take years
Jessica Williams, co-host of the 2 Dope Queens podcast, Instagrammed from her bed on New Year’s Eve about her struggle with endometriosis.
“Also I would to add that killer
8 Celebrities Who Are Spreading the Word About the Pain of Dealing with Endometriosis
Nancy Rivera/ACE Pictures/REX/Shutterstock
The writer and actress has long shared her struggles with endometriosis over the years, a fight that caused her to lose “all trust in or connection to” her body.
Though the pain started with her first period, Dunham, 31, didn't get diagnosed until she was filming the first season of Girls at age 25. She says those years in between were difficult to handle.
“If my pain had no tangible source, that just meant my mind was more powerful than I was and it didn’t want me to be happy, ever,” Dunham said in 2015. “I saw myself divided a black-and-white cookie into neat halves: one bright and ambitious, the other destined to wind up strapped to a gurney and moaning for pain meds.”
In an essay for the March 2018 issue of Vogue, she revealed that she had her uterus removed in a total hysterectomy, and can no longer carry a child — something she dreamed of since she was little.
“I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now,” Dunham wrote. “Soon I’ll start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs.
(Your brain, unaware that the rest of the apparatus has gone, in theory keeps firing up your eggs every month, to be released and reabsorbed into the cavern.) Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.
Hough first had endometriosis symptoms at age 15, but the disorder was so under-the-radar at the time that she didn't know something was wrong.
“I thought that this was just the kind of pain you have when you’re on your period,” Hough, 29, told PEOPLE. “For years, I was just thinking that was normal and never really talked about it.”
She finally faced the disorder head-on — and learned what it was — when she had to be rushed to the hospital from the Dancing with the Stars set in 2008.
“I found out that I had endometriosis and that I needed to get surgery that week,” she says.
Now Hough, who works with AbbVie on their SpeakENDO campaign, wants women to speak openly about endometriosis.
“I don’t care about being private about this anymore because I really want the women that are going through debilitating pain to benefit from my story or this campaign.”
The Top Chef host also went undiagnosed for years, and Lakshmi says her chronic pain played a huge part in the end of her marriage to Salman Rushdie. With Lakshmi often in too much pain to leave her bed or have sex, the couple were constantly fighting, and she says Rushdie once called her a “bad investment.”
“Endometriosis was definitely a major reason that my marriage failed and I don’t think either of us understood it at the time,” Lakshmi, 47, told PEOPLE. “I think that’s also because I hid it to a certain degree, not intentionally but you know, it’s weird to talk about your period all the time. It’s the least sexy thing in the world to do.”
“I think that Salman took it personally and I think that he felt rejected,” she said, “and I can understand that.”
Ridley got honest with her followers about how much her endometrosis — and the skin problems that come with it — affects her self-esteem.
“At 15 I was diagnosed with endometriosis. One laparoscopy, many consultations and 8 years down the line, pain was back (more mild this time!) and my skin was THE WORST,” the actress, 25, posted on Instagram.
“I’ve tried everything: products, antibiotics, more products, more antibiotics) and all that did was left my body in a bit of a mess. Finally found out I have polycystic ovaries and that’s why it’s bad.
I can safely say feeling so self conscious has left my confidence in tatters.”
She urged everyone to go to the doctor if something feels off.
“To any of you who are suffering with anything, go to a doctor; pay for a specialist; get your hormones tested, get allergy testing; keep on top of how your body is feeling and don’t worry about sounding a hypochondriac,” she said.
“From your head to the tips of your toes we only have one body, let us all make sure ours our working in tip top condition, and take help if it’s needed.”
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The singer may be 46, but she only discovered in May that the pain she had been dealing with was endometriosis. Thankfully, after an “almost 8 hour” surgery to remove cysts, fibroids and a hernia, she's feeling much better.
“I’ve known something was wrong but I also knew victory & better health would be near again!!” Monica wrote on Instagram two weeks post-op.
Her hope is that speaking out will push more women to address any health issues.
“My reason for sharing is because we, as women, are built to be warriors and we will ignore something that seems so simple that can be so complex,” she told PEOPLE. “Your uterine health is very important. I spoke up about it so people out there who are going through the same thing know that they’re not alone.”
Mowry-Hardrict and her husband, Cory Hardrict, want to add to their family and give their 6-year-old son Cree a sibling, but her endometriosis makes conceiving difficult.
“I do suffer from endometriosis,” Mowry-Hardrict, 37, told PEOPLE. “So there’s a little bit of a challenge there, but I will say this: I am working on my diet.”
The Tia Mowry At Home star and cookbook author focuses on eating foods that reduce inflammation, because “endometriosis basically grows from inflammation.” She fills her diet with “fruits, vegetables, seeds and whole grains,” and stays away from processed and packaged foods. Mowry-Hardrict also loves fermented foods.
“They are loaded with good bacteria that just keep the gut flora nice and balanced and able to fight off inflammation and free radicals in the body,” she said.
The singer doubted herself for years because her debilitating pain went undiagnosed by unconvinced doctors.
“I was recently diagnosed after years of suffering and finding myself doubled over backstage in the middle of my sets, or fighting back tears on an airplane, or even being in so much pain I would vomit or faint,” Halsey, 22, wrote on in January 2016.
“With doctors essentially telling me I was being a big baby about my period, or misdiagnosing PCOS, etc etc. Finding out that I had [endometriosis] was the most bittersweet moment because it meant I wasn’t crazy! I wasn’t a “baby”! I had every right to be feeling the world was caving in.
But it was terrifying to find out.”
One year later, she underwent “multiple terrifying surgeries” to ease her pain.
“In my recovery I am thinking of all of you and how you give me the strength and stamina to power through and prosper,” she writes. “If you suffer from chronic pain or a debilitating disease please know that I have found time to live a crazy, wild, rewarding life AND balance my treatment and I hope so much in my heart that you can too.”
The actress decided to share the story of her long struggle with infertility due to endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome to help others.
“I was hiding what I was going through for so long, and I hear about so many women going through what I went through,” King, 38, told PEOPLE. “If I’m open about it, hopefully it won’t be so taboo to talk about it.”
And her endometriosis affected her career, too.
“[When] I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I gained 40 pounds because my hormones were so crazy,” King told The New York Post. “And it was , ‘Oh, [producers] want to offer you this role, but they want to know why you got fat.’ I realized being shamed for gaining weight or being too thin felt the same.”
On the fertility front, though, she finally got some good news after five miscarriages, five rounds of in vitro fertilization and 26 rounds of intrauterine insemination: King ended up naturally conceiving her son James, 4.
“When I got pregnant it was the best thing in the whole world. I had never felt so grateful, happy and elated,” King told PEOPLE.
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