The Olympic champion, 38, took to Instagram on Wednesday, September 16, to share photos from a laparoscopic procedure she had two weeks prior to help remove her moderate case of endometriosis — a common health disorder that causes abnormal tissue growth to line the inside and outside of the uterus. Lipinski candidly opened up about her experience with endometriosis to help break down the stigma behind it.
“I know I could have chosen to move on and not share my experience, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to help even a few people — to inform and support other women who may be struggling with this painful disease,” she wrote. “As an athlete, I’ve been conditioned to be hyper competitive about succumbing to pain and injury, something that definitely helped during my skating career. But it’s probably not the best approach now.”
Lipinski continued, “I went in and out of this surgery pretending it wasn’t happening and telling myself to feel no pain and get back to my normal routine immediately. And while I feel lucky to be ‘back in the game’ under the care of an incredible surgeon, I still thought I’d share my journey, hopefully to bring more awareness to this condition.”
The Philadelphia-born star said that she’s “very health conscious” and always ensures that she’s properly “checking” herself if she feels off. However, she admittedly “knew almost nothing” about endometriosis prior to her diagnosis or the many complications that come along with it, including menstrual irregularities.
“I think the more we talk about endometriosis, the more proactive we can be about treatment,” she explained. “To me, it feels like a hush hush topic that women feel they just need to tough out.”
Lipinski added, “No woman should live in pain or think ‘This is just something I have to deal with.’ My story began years ago. I am one of the lucky ones.”
In her post’s comments section, Lipinski noted that her surgery “was a success” and that her moderate amount of endometriosis was “pretty much 100 percent” removed. “I feel lucky that my recovery has been mainly pain free,” she wrote. “This certainly isn’t the case with all women — every case, surgery and receive is unique. Again, I am one of the lucky ones.”
The retired athlete’s post featured screenshots of an extended version of her statement, revealing that she was inspired to do more research about endometriosis after hearing about Julianne Hough’s own experience with the health issue.
Hough, 32, told Health magazine in its November 2017 issue that she began having endometriosis symptoms at just 15 years old, saying: “[I] didn’t really realize that it was anything more than just being a woman. It was sort of a relief to know that I actually had a name to the pain and that it wasn’t just part of being a woman, and that I had to tough it out.”
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