Endometriosis is a chronic disease that affects millions of women worldwide, including women from all walks of life and professions.
This condition occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus, causing pain and other debilitating symptoms. While the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, it is known to affect women of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that around 10% of women of reproductive age have endometriosis worldwide. This means that approximately 176 million women worldwide are living with this condition.
However, unfortunately, many women with endometriosis do not receive adequate diagnosis or treatment due to a lack of awareness and education about the disease.
In this article, we will explore the experiences of some famous women who have openly talked about their struggle with endometriosis and how they have tried to raise awareness about this condition. We will also look at possibilities and alternatives for becoming a mother despite having endometriosis.
Endometriosis impacted the life of actress and screenwriter Lena Dunham, and her case has been one of the most relevant on social media so far.
In February 2018, Dunham shared with Vogue magazine that she had undergone a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) due to her endometriosis.
"I went to the hospital and announced that I wouldn't leave until the pain stopped or they removed my uterus"said the 31-year-old actress.
Persistent endometriosis and intolerable pain led Dunham to make a devastating decision: a hysterectomy at the age of 31.
You may remember Tia Mowry from "Sister, Sister," the 90s TV series. She is also one of the women fighting endometriosis and struggling to conceive.
Tia Mowry was 20 years old when she found out she had endometriosis, according to an essay the actress wrote for Women's Health. Several doctors dismissed her symptoms until she finally found a doctor who took her seriously.
After two surgeries to control the endometriosis, Tia asked her doctor what else she could do to manage the painful condition. The best advice from her doctor was: a change in diet.
"Endometriosis is a highly inflammatory condition, so I set out to eliminate from my diet foods that cause inflammation in the body,"says Tia. These inflammatory foods included dairy, processed sugar, refined flour, and alcohol.
And the best news: she was able to have a baby despite her endometriosis and fertility issues.
After being diagnosed with the condition, Padma Lakshmi, the host of Top Chef, founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
As a child, Padma Lakshmi suffered from severe endometriosis (undiagnosed) that was so debilitating that "I would have to stay home from school for several days a month. I missed a week of my life for 23 years," she told People magazine.
The 44-year-old woman reveals that her symptoms have included bloating, cramping, excessive bleeding, and intense abdominal pain, which no one really talked about.
Lakshmi thought she might have trouble conceiving. "I was told I would never have children naturally, that I had only a 10 to 15 percent chance of having them through IVF," she told People in 2015. In 2010, she gave birth to a daughter, whom she called "a miracle."
Actress Gabrielle Union-Wade revealed in 2017 that she suffered "eight or nine miscarriages" due to adenomyosis, a type of endometriosis in which the endometrial tissue grows into the walls of the uterus.
Union said she experienced periods that lasted 10 days, with heavy bleeding, and was not diagnosed with adenomyosis. Doctors started giving her birth control pills at the age of 20, but her diagnosis came 20 years later.
However, her condition did not stop her from becoming a mother. In 2018, Union-Wade and her husband Dwayne Wade welcomed a daughter.
Julianne Hough is best known for her career in Dancing With The Stars and as an actress. But she's also 30 years old and has spent half her life dealing with endometriosis and suffering in silence.
Julianne Hough shared with Women's Health about how endometriosis affects her sex life with her husband. "It definitely can interrupt things."
Pain during sex can be frustrating, but Hough and her husband try to work around it. "There's so much intimacy without having sex," she said. Julianne also shared the beginnings of her condition:
"I started experiencing symptoms when I was 15, but I thought it was just what it felt like to be a girl with bad periods. I didn't think to go to the gynecologist. Because I'm competitive, I felt like I had to push through the pain and just work"says Julianne to Women's Health magazine.
Jessica Williams, co-host of the podcast 2 Dope Queens, posted a photo on Instagram from her bed on New Year's Eve, talking about her battle with endometriosis. Williams wrote that she felt sad after her diagnosis, in part because she "ignored and dismissed" her pain for a long time.
also added, "I would also like to add that killer cramps are 'not' normal," she wrote. "I've probably had this for 10 years and was only diagnosed last month, and even that was after going to the emergency room and two different doctors before finding a solution."Jessica Williams
Some doctors tell women with chronic pain to accept the pain and learn to live with it. While this type of "pain acceptance" dismisses chronic pain patients, comedian Jessica Williams shared a different type of "pain acceptance" that is worth sharing.
Halsey, a singer, and songwriter is a self-proclaimed endometriosis warrior. Since her diagnosis in 2014, she has shared much of her endometriosis journey on social media.
In 2017, she took a photo backstage with a heating pad around her stomach. "Sometimes I feel like I can barely stand," she wrote. "But on nights like tonight, I slap on a heating pad, take some medicine and hustle."
Migraines have been linked to endometriosis in numerous studies. And in 2017, singer Monica told People magazine that she was diagnosed and treated for endometriosis after being hospitalized several times for migraines.
She underwent a successful surgery of almost eight hours to remove cysts, fibroids, and a hernia. Since then, the singer has decided to share her journey, hoping to help other women overcome their condition.
"We, as women, are made to be warriors and we ignore something that seems so simple and can be so complex," she shares, "Your uterine health is very important. I speak about this so women who are going through the same thing know they are not alone."
Women with endometriosis have created a strong online community where they can share tips, symptoms, and celebrate successful treatment stories. "There is a tribe of women who support each other like crazy on websites like SpeakEndo," Julianne Hough told Women's Health.
Hough says, "The more informed you are, the more secure you will feel." That's why you need to know that it is possible to have endometriosis and still become a mother.
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