Before I knew I had it, I never would have guessed it was so common.
Mainly because prior to my diagnosis, I'd never even heard of it! So much information about women's health gets thrown at us from every direction - often by celebrities, using their fame to raise awareness for the different afflictions that they face, but this was one I had yet to see.
Statistically, it makes sense that a lot of celebrities would have endometriosis, but it's not really something that pops up in tabloids or on their twitter feeds the way some other health issues do.
edit 7/22/14 : Lena Dunham joined the conversation about birth control on Twitter
by sharing her endometriosis diagnosis. Yay, Lena!
So last week, out of curiosity, I did a little bit of research to find out which famous women have admitted to having this oh-so-glamorous condition, and here are a few of them...
Julianne Hough of Dancing With the Stars
"Julianne just doesn't complain," says her mother, Mariann Nelson, 51. "She carries on." Still, after completing her jitterbug... Hough knew her body had taken all it could stand: Hunched over backstage with abdominal pains so severe "it felt like a knife was being stabbed in me," she recalls, Hough "curled up in a little ball. It was awful" ... an ultrasound the next morning not only revealed a cyst on her left ovary, but also massive amounts of scar tissue outside of her uterus—a condition known as endometriosis... "I didn't know if I wanted everyone to know about this, because it's such a personal thing," Hough admits. "Plus, people are uneducated about it, and I thought they might try to turn it into something it's not." - People Magazine
Marilyn Monroe the Hollywood icon
"Despite the glamorous photo spreads and sexual icon status, she spent much of her life in chronic pain due to endometriosis, suffering miscarriages, reportedly having at least one ectopic pregnancy and becoming addicted to pain killers. There was even one story that before going into one of her surgeries related to her infertility issues, she taped a note to her stomach, pleading with doctors not to take her female parts." - Fertility Authority
Padma Lakshmi host of Top Chef
In 2009, Lakshmi co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America. "I was bedridden for at least two to three days a month... When I got out of college, I started working as a model in Europe and Paris and in Milan and there were lot of times when I had to cancel jobs. I kind of went along like that and about the time I was 32 years old I had a checkup and I was told that I had two cysts on my ovaries, one that was normal and another one that was endometrial... But the words “endometriosis” were never said to me... There was a lot I was not talking about because it was embarrassing, because it was painful, because it was traumatic and after a while when people keep telling you its not that bad and you think, 'Okay maybe it is not that bad. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I have a really low tolerance for pain and maybe I am not just as tough as other women.'" - The Endometriosis Foundation of America
Anna Friel of Pushing Daisies
"In 2001, Friel collapsed in agony and needed an emergency operation after suffering a burst ovarian cyst. Doctors operating on her at the time had found that she also had endometriosis, which makes it difficult for women to conceive. "It was all very dramatic and frightening. A terrible shock. I lost two litres of blood and had to have two transfusions,” Contactmusic quoted her as saying. “The doctors saved my ovaries but they said that to stand a chance of having children I had to conceive within five years, before I was 30," she added. The ‘Pushing Daisies’ star gave birth to Gracie in 2005, aged 28." - Asian News International
Hillary Clinton politician and former first lady
This isn't something that the politician has shared very much about, but she's admitted to having endometriosis and talked a bit about the struggles she had in trying to conceive her daughter, Chelsea.
Tia Mowry of Sister Sister
"As a young woman, I always experienced crazy cramps and pains that often lead me wanting to be whisked away in an ambulance... After a few visits to the doctor’s office I was later diagnosed with endometriosis. Two surgeries later, I was convinced that I would never be able to carry a child. Fear and worry overcame me and when in these situations, I always look to God and my right hand man, my husband..." - Tia's Blog, The Daily Love
Meg Cabot author of The Princess Diaries
"I’m writing this with a heating pad on my stomach and a pillow over that and my laptop on the pillow. I guess I will personally always remember 2007 as The Year That They Took Out My Right Ovary and Burned Off All My Endometriosis, Which By The Way Still Really Hurts..... Thanks to everyone who wrote in with get well wishes and reassurances for my surgery last week! I’m happy to say it went really well, although there were some surprises... my doctor had to take out the cyst AND my right ovary, along with about five tons of endometriosis.This last part came as a shocking blow, of course, because I never even knew I had endometriosis. As a cybercondriac, it kills me that I’ve apparently had a disease for twenty-eight years and never even knew it. That is just so wrong." - Meg's Personal Blog
Susan Sarandon Academy Award winning actress
"I had been through the fainting, all the business when I was in college and finally when I was in England... I went in and I had a procedure and they looked... What they said was, “Okay, you have endometriosis”. I had no idea what that was. They did not explain it to me. They said, “If you ever want a child, you will probably have to have surgery... We will just put you on a whole bunch of birth control pills... We will give you painkillers when you finally go off them”. I do not know how I managed with that kind of half-assed diagnosis... A miracle happened and I found myself pregnant with my daughter, and then somehow managed to again be surprised two more times and have three children. I am definitely one of the lucky ones." - From her speech at The 3rd Annual Blossom Ball
Kirsten Storms of General Hospital but more importantly Zenon
Kristen was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 2011 and ended up having to take a year away from her acting job on General Hospital due to pain and surgery. Another actress temporarily filled her role on the show until she was ready to return back, since initially she was only expected to be gone for two months. Her endometriosis diagnosis was revealed on an episode of Dirty Soap.
Whoopie Goldberg, Dolly Parton, Emma Bunton (Aka Baby Spice), Jillian Michaels,
Bethenny Frankel, Cyndi Lauper, Pamela Anderson, Queen Victoria...
It's rumored that Nicole Kidman, Celine Dion, and Khloe Kardashian suffer from endo too,
though those are just speculations and haven't been confirmed by the ladies themselves.
Last week, while re-watching an episode of LOST (spoiler alert) Sun's doctor attributed her "fertility issues" to endometriosis. Even though the doctor claimed to have found it via ultrasound (um, okay, fraud!) I felt like I was getting a special shout-out or something haha :) I hadn't even remembered that scene from the first time I watched the series and this time it totally jumped out at me - shows how much more aware you can be just by knowing the name of the condition!
I think the only bummer of it is, most of these women only share one aspect of endometriosis - the fact that it caused them fertility issues. This is one of the greatest, most understandable, and most common complications that endometriosis causes, of course, but I wish there was more information about the different levels of chronic pain these women have had to work through - more for us to relate to! But at least the information is out there for people to hear and get curious about!
Kind of interesting and fun when the word endometriosis pops up in somewhere more exciting than a doctor's office, you know?
Here's to being glamorous, ambitious, and successful through our endo.
Don't let it get you down this week! xoxo