You’ve likely heard of endometriosis – a condition that affects 1.5million women and people assigned female at birth in the UK. This health issue causes tissue, similar to that which lines your uterus, to grow elsewhere, typically in your pelvic region – think places such as your ovaries or fallopian tubes. This can cause tremendous pain, especially during menstruation, as well as excessive bleeding. It can also impact a person’s fertility.
While getting a diagnosis often takes some time, says Professor Mark Baker, Director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, once it has been diagnosed, ‘there are effective treatments available that can ease women’s symptoms.’ That’s not to say that the condition can be alleviated, wholesale. ‘There’s no cure and it can be difficult to treat,’ states the NHS website – except for the extreme and life-altering step of choosing a hysterectomy. But surgeries — both smaller and larger — designed to remove growths from the affected areas are offered on the NHS. GPs might also offer painkillers, the pill and the mirena coil to help with the pain.
Previously speaking to Women’s Health, Faye Farthing, Campaigns and Communications Manager for Endometriosis UK said: ‘Myths in our society about endometriosis are rife – women are often on the receiving ends of comments like “It’s just a bad period, get on with it,” or are accused of attention-seeking or having a weak pain threshold when, in reality, it is a condition that can have a huge impact on all aspects of a person’s life, including their education, career, relationships, and their physical and mental health.’
We’ve rounded up celebrities who’ve spoken out on their personal struggles with endometriosis to shed light on this condition. From Emma Bunton to Halsey, Chrissy Teigen and Molly-Mae, read what these A-listers have to say about their personal experiences with endometriosis.
Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague shared with her fans that she had been diagnosed with the condition after being left in ‘excruciating pain’ while on her periods.
In an online Q&A this autumn, Molly-Mae was asked by a fan about how she was feeling about some impending surgery, to remove patches of endometriosis tissue. The 22-year-old replied: ‘I’ve got a date for my operation now. I’m just looking forward to it to be honest because my endometriosis massively impacts my life, I just pray the surgery helps.’
She has continued to raise awareness of the issue, and has since opened up about her recent surgery via her YouTube channel.
Actress Amy Schumer is a vocal advocate for better research into endometriosis, which she deals with, herself.
At the time of her pregnancy in 2020, Amy called out the lack of funding for endometriosis research on social media saying: ‘Amy is still pregnant and puking because money rarely goes to medical studies for women such as hyperemesis or endometriosis and instead goes to things like d**ks not getting hard enough or old guys who want harder d**ks.’
Girls star Lena Dunham was forced to make the difficult decision to undergo a hysterectomy due to acute endometriosis. She was just 31 years-of-age at the time.In an essay for Vogue U.S., Lena detailed her ‘years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits’ that ultimately resulted in her opting to have her cervix and uterus removed as a last resort.
Actress Emma Roberts has dealt with the symptoms of endometriosis since she was a teenager, however, she didn’t receive a diagnosis until her late 20s—but by that point, the condition had already affected her fertility, leading her to freeze her eggs.
In a interview for Cosmopolitan magazine, she said: ‘I always had debilitating cramps and periods, so bad that I would miss school and, later, have to cancel meetings. I mentioned this to my doctor, who didn’t look into it and sent me on my way because maybe I was being dramatic? In my late 20s, I just had a feeling I needed to switch to a female doctor. It was the best decision. She ran tests, sent me to a specialist.
‘Finally, there was validation that I wasn’t being dramatic.’
Roberts also noted that speaking about the illness and her fertility with other women helped her to process the news. ‘All of a sudden, there was a new world of conversation about endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages, fear of having kids,’ she said. ‘I was so grateful to find out I was not alone in this. I hadn’t done anything ‘wrong’ after all.’
Activist, author and actor Gabrielle Union has always been vocal about her struggles with infertility, as well as the root cause of her multiple miscarriages: adenomyosis.
‘Towards the end of my fertility journey, I finally got some answers. Everyone said, “You’re a career woman, you’ve prioritised your career, you waited too long and now you’re just too old to have a kid’—and that’s on you for wanting a career.” The reality is I actually have adenomyosis,’ Union said at the annual BlogHer conference, according to People. ‘The gag is I had it in my early 20s.’
In 2018, Gabrielle and her husband Dwyane Wade welcomes their daughter Kaavia, together, via a surrogate.
Similar to endometriosis, Union’s condition causes tissue like that which lines your uterus to grow inside her uterine wall rather than outside the uterus. Sometimes referred to as internal endometriosis, it also causes pain, nausea, and heavy menstruation.
The cookbook author, mum-of-two and model, 35, underwent surgery to help get rid of some of her endometriosis tissue. Once home, Teigen started sharing updates with her followers to help spread awareness.
‘Usually I’m really good after [surgery],’ she said. ‘This one’s a toughie. My whole belly got numbed. It’s gonna be numb for like, a couple days.’
Halsey, the singer and songwriter, has been open about her endometriosis on social media, using the hashtag #endowarrior.
She has endured multiple surgeries and had a miscarriage at 20 years old.’It can feel like a direct attack on your womanhood,’ Halsey said at a 2018 fundraiser for the Endometriosis Foundation of America. But, she adds, she now knows she can ‘overcome anything.’
Fashion icon Alexa Chung was praised for sharing her endometriosis diagnosis on social media. The 37-year-old model and designer revealed she is dealing with the 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 likes, prompted an outpouring of love and support from dozens of women with the same condition.
Singer-songwriter and member of the Spice Girls, Emma Bunton, was diagnosed with endometriosis aged 25 and was warned she had a 50:50 chance of becoming a mum.
‘That nearly broke me,’ the pop star told Stella magazine. ‘I knew I had the right partner; I knew I wanted to be a mum.’
Luckily, after partaking in Strictly Come Dancing in 2006, Emma and her now-husband, singer Jade Jones, conceived their first son, Beau, now 14, and a few years later, Tate, now 10.
Sophie Cullen is a multi-award-winning beauty journalist and brand consultant, with a special interest in all things skincare and makeup.
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Original posted at www.womenshealthmag.com