Endometriosis causes abnormal tissue growth in and around the uterus, and is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. The condition occurs in as many as 1 in 10 women, according to UCLA Health, and can take years before being confirmed, leading many women to not be diagnosed until their 30s or 40s.
Despite the stigma, women like Culpo and Hough aren’t afraid to speak up about their symptoms. In August 2020, the Model Squad alum urged others to take endometriosis and women’s pain “seriously.”
“I’ve never publicly said this before but I have endometriosis,” Culpo shared in an Instagram Story at the time, detailing her “excruciatingly painful” experience. “Definitely go to your doctor if you have painful periods. Painful periods are not normal. You just want to make sure that everything is ok if you did want to get pregnant. You just never know. You don’t want to wait too late, so I want everyone to take that seriously.”
Earlier that month, reality star Savannah Chrisley revealed that she had just gone through her third surgery related to her battle with the condition.
“I was diagnosed with Endometriosis when I was 18 and it’s been quite the struggle,” she wrote in a lengthy Instagram post ahead of her operation. “The pain at times is unbearable and the toll it takes on my emotional/psychological health is pretty rough at times.”
Hough, for her part, was once rushed to the hospital after doubling over in pain while filming Dancing With the Stars in her 20s. “Fortunately my mother was there to say, ‘You know what, we’ve got to get this checked,'” she told InStyle in December 2018. “I think a lot of women feel like they’re not being heard or understood, so I was really lucky in that case.”
While many may be unfamiliar with endometriosis and its symptoms, celebrities have been sharing their stories about the disorder for decades. In 2009, Whoopi Goldberg gave an empowering speech at the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s annual Blossom Ball, noting that she was “very, very lucky” to receive an early diagnosis.
“I thought we all knew about endometriosis. I thought we all knew that it was there and existed, why it happens,” the comedian said at the event. “It never occurred to me that somehow women didn’t know about it. It just never occurred to me.”