Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis

Endo warriors! Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and more stars have become fierce advocates for women’s health — especially when it comes to endometriosis.

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.”

Scroll down to learn more about women who’ve battled endometriosis, including Padma Lakshmi and Halsey.

Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Olivia Culpo

The model opened up about her symptoms for the first time in August 2020, telling her Instagram followers that the condition is “so not fun” to deal with. “Painful periods are not normal,” she said at the time. “The reason why I’m so passionate about talking about this is because my doctor tells me about people who come to her in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s about not having been able to have kids. The thing that’s so sad about that is because they may have had endometriosis that may have affected their fertility in some way and if they had caught it earlier, they could have frozen their eggs. There would have been more options.”

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Halsey

In January 2016, the “New Americana” songstress recalled the “bittersweet” moment when she received her endometriosis diagnosis. “I know how [excruciatingly] painful it can be and how discouraging the disease can be,” she shared in a note on Twitter at the time. She underwent surgery for her symptoms the next year, but hasn’t stopped speaking out about her journey. “It’s the most inadequate I’ve ever felt,” she told the Guardian in February 2020 after revealing that she’s suffered multiple miscarriages as a result of the illness.

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Julianne Hough

“I started having symptoms when I was 15, but didn’t really realize that it was anything more than just being a woman,” the Dancing With the Stars alum told Health magazine in March 2017, nine years after her diagnosis. “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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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Padma Lakshmi

Lakshmi was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2006 after experiencing symptoms for over 20 years. In 2009, she cofounded the Endometriosis Foundation of America to help raise awareness so that other women won’t have to suffer in silence. “One of the things I’m most proud of is that we started an international conversation that really wasn’t happening,” Lakshmi told Refinery29 in May 2019. “And now there are others — Endo Warriors, Endo Sisters, I see them on social media and I love it. They were the seeds we planted that are now blossoming.”

 

Andy Kropa/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Lena Dunham

In February 2018, the Girls creator opened up about her decision to get a hysterectomy at age 31 in an emotional essay for Vogue. “Because I had to work so hard to have my pain acknowledged, there was no time to feel fear or grief. To say goodbye,” she wrote, noting that she’s faced her symptoms for a decade. “I made a choice that never was a choice for me, yet mourning feels like a luxury I don’t have.”

 

Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Savannah Chrisley

“I have struggled BIG TIME,” the Growing Up Chrisley star wrote via Instagram in August 2020 as she prepared to go in for another surgery. Days later, she updated her fans about the procedure and said that she was looking forward to having “time to recover.”

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Gabrielle Union

The Bring It On actress revealed in her 2017 memoir that she had suffered “eight or nine” miscarriages throughout her life. The next year, she explained that she had adenomyosis, a condition closely related to endometriosis that causes severe period symptoms. “Every doctor I saw was like, ‘Let me put you on birth control,'” she said at the annual SheKnows Media #BlogHer18 Creators Summit. “The pill can mask all kinds of things. It is amazing at preventing pregnancy; not so great with addressing adenomyosis.”

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Jaime King

King first publicly disclosed her diagnosis in 2015, describing the fertility challenges that she experienced as a result. Three years later, she gave an empowering message of support to other fighters, encouraging them to advocate for themselves. “When we protect our reproductive health, we protect our fertility and we protect, ultimately, ourselves, our relationships, our friendships, everything,” she told Health magazine.

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Alexa Chung

“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member, but here I am. #endometriosisclub #partytime #woohoo #lifelongmembership #sorryifyouhaveittooitsucks #endometriosisawareness,” the model teased in a July 2019 Instagram post from her doctor’s office.

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Jessica Williams

“Killer 👏🏾cramps 👏🏾ain’t 👏🏾normal👏🏾,” the “2 Dope Queens” cohost asserted in a lengthy Instagram post in December 2018, seeking self-care tips from her followers. “I’ve probably had this for 10 years and only got diagnosed last month and even that was after I went to the ER AND two different doctors before finding the solution. People have a hard time believing women are in pain and they ESPECIALLY have a hard time believing that women of color are experiencing pain. So it may take multiple doctors to even get an endometriosis diagnosis – which is banãnãs.”

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Amy Schumer

Nearly a year after her son, Gene, was born in May 2019, the comedian detailed her “miserable” labor experience, which was made worse by her endometriosis pains. “I was throwing up through the first hour of my C-section. It’s supposed to take about an hour and a half. Mine took over three hours because of my endometriosis … and that was really scary,” she said on “Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy” podcast.

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Mae Whitman

“Basically anyone that even vaguely knows me knows this one thing about me: I have had for my entire life, the MOST violently painful extremely intense pain with every single. period,” the Parenthood alum penned in a July 2019 Instagram post. After claiming that the struggle to even get diagnosed with endometriosis left her feeling “defeated,” Whitman revealed that she was “recovering from a brilliantly done operation” that gave her “hope for my future that I never had before.”  

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Tia Mowry

“The first challenge for me was overcoming the questions of ‘Why me? Why is this happening to me?'” the Sister, Sister alum told Women’s Health in February 2018 after detailing the ups and downs of her fertility journey. Mowry has welcomed two children despite her challenges with endometriosis and has turned to healthy eating to help calm her symptoms. “I find when you go through some kind of struggle, the reward is just so much greater,” she said at the time.

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Bethenny Frankel

After suffering from the condition her “whole life,” Frankel told Entertainment Tonight in June 2016 that she “tried to hold it all together” for too long before finally getting a necessary surgery. “I thought it was normal, but then after a couple of days, people around me were like, ‘This isn’t normal,'” she said of her painful symptoms at the time.

 

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Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Whoopi Goldberg

After years of advocating for better education and research about endometriosis, the View cohost helped to create a line of CBD products to help endometriosis patients manage extreme pain.

 

Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

Olivia Culpo, Julianne Hough and More Stars Battling Endometriosis
Susan Sarandon

Sarandon was diagnosed at age 36 and has since become a vocal supporter of those who have shared their stories. “When all you know is pain you don’t know that that is not normal. It is not a woman’s lot to suffer, even if we’ve been raised that way,” the Oscar winner said at the 2011 Blossom Ball. “It is not OK to miss a part of your life because of pain and excessive bleeding. It is not OK to be bedridden for two to three days a month. … Suffering should not define you as a woman.”

 

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