Endometriosis is a little-known, but widespread medical condition that effects 1 in 10 women. Many women suffer from endometriosis in silence because they don’t know they have it, gynecologists and other medical practitioners do not take their complaints seriously and undermine the severity of their symptoms, or they are misdiagnosed. It’s been called the crazy woman’s disease and many women don’t speak up about their symptoms because of stigmas associated with “women’s issues” and fear of sounding like a hypochondriac.
It recent years, a number of celebrities have opened up about their struggle with endometriosis, hopefully encouraging other women to stop suffering in silence and bringing much-needed awareness to the condition.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition where the tissue that normally grows on the inside lining of the uterus grows on other areas of the body where it doesn’t belong such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surface of the uterus, and on the tissues that hold the uterus in place. The most common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Pain (very painful menstrual periods, chronic pain in lower back and pelvis, pain during or after sex, painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual period, intestinal pain)
- Spotting between menstrual periods
- Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and bloating—especially during menstrual period)
- Infertility or trouble getting pregnant
A Personal Cause: Celebrities with Endometriosis Who are Helping Spread the Word about this Medical Condition
- Lena Dunham (actress, writer, producer, and director) Lena Dunham is best known as the creator, writer, director, and star of the HBO series Girls. Lena Dunham underwent five surgeries in 2017 alone for endometriosis. Her fifth surgery required surgeons to reposition one of her ovaries, which had attached to her pelvic floor causing intense pain. Lena has been very vocal about her struggle with endometriosis. In a post entitled “The Sickest Girl” that she wrote for her online blog, Lena writes, “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. I hope for a world where illness isn’t equated with weakness, where mental-health issues do not discount physical ones, because, guess what, we are complex beings.”
- Padma Lakshmi (TV personality, actress, author, host of Bravo’s Top Chef) Padma says that endometriosis effectively exiled from her life, one week a month, every year, for over 20 years. She notes that despite being a college-educated, professional woman living in a major city with health insurance and access to the best medical care, she had still never heard of the disease. Wanting to change that for other women suffering in silence, Padma helped create the Endometriosis Foundation of America in 2009. The Endometriosis Foundation of America strives to increase disease recognition, provide advocacy, facilitate expert surgical training, and fund landmark endometriosis research.
- Julianne Hough (actress, singer, dancer, and two-time champion of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars) In an interview with People magazine, Julianne Hough says she first experienced endometriosis symptoms at age 15, but didn’t seek out medical help because she thought that this was just the type of pain women experienced during their menstrual periods. In 2008, she was rushed from the set of Dancing with the Stars to the hospital. She was diagnosed with endometriosis and underwent surgery that week for the condition. She now works with pharmaceutical company AbbVie in their “Get in the know About ME in EndoMEtriosis” campaign, which encourages women to speak openly about the condition.
- Other celebrities who have been vocal about their struggle with endometriosis and are helping advocate for the medical condition include but are not limited to: Daisy Ridley, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, Monica, Tia Mowry, Halsey, Jaime King, Meg Cabot, and Jillian Michaels.
If you have severe endometriosis, you do not need to suffer in silence anymore. At Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey, board certified URO/GYN Dr. Shakiba has helped countless women by performing minimally-invasive gynecology surgery for the treatment of endometriosis. To learn more about Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey and the non-surgical and surgical procedures and treatments we provide to patients, check out our website. If you have any questions or want to schedule your appointment, call us at (201) 301-2772 or contact us online.