Olivia Culpo Reveals She Has Endometriosis—And Urges People to Take Painful Periods Seriously
Olivia Culpo just revealed on Instagram that she has endometriosis, which typically causes intense pain, and shared how she manages her symptoms.
“It is so not fun, very painful. There’s a surgery you can get for it that I don’t really want to get,” Culpo said in an Instagram story. So how does she manage her pain? “Lots of heating pads, lots of water, lots of Midol, honestly,” she said, noting that these are the only remedies that help her.
She went on to encourage her followers to get checked out if they think they may have a condition like endometriosis. “If you are having very painful periods and you’re not being diagnosed with what you think could be endometriosis, definitely do your research,” she said, partly because the condition can affect your fertility.
Culpo then tagged her doctor and explained that her doctor has told her stories about people having difficulty getting pregnant who may have had endometriosis that affected their fertility without them realizing it. “So if you are someone out there with super-painful periods, it’s very important to take it seriously,” Culpo said.
Endometriosis is a painful condition in which the type of tissue that lines the uterus (or tissue that’s very similar to it) grows outside of the uterus. The tissue is most often found on nearby reproductive organs, like the ovaries and fallopian tubes, where it can cause cysts, inflammation, and scar tissue that make it hard to conceive, SELF explained previously.
Although endometriosis doesn’t always impact fertility, it’s one factor to keep in mind and discuss with your doctor if you have the condition and are interested in becoming pregnant. Some endometriosis treatment options—like hormone therapy—can actually reduce the condition’s effects on fertility, SELF reported previously. You can also consider options like egg or embryo freezing, which may offer some peace of mind but can be prohibitively expensive and aren’t necessarily a guarantee that things will work out perfectly in the future.
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic and/or abdominal pain that typically gets worse around the time of your period, which makes it easy to dismiss as just normal period cramps. But as Culpo mentioned, the intensely painful periods experienced with endometriosis are not normal, and the pain usually comes with other symptoms, such as spotting in between periods, painful sex, constipation, or diarrhea.
As Culpo mentioned, one treatment option is minimally invasive surgery to remove the tissue. But surgery can be a big commitment, and unfortunately the results aren’t necessarily permanent because the tissue can grow back. Other options include the aforementioned hormone therapy (such as hormonal birth control) and home remedies, including over-the-counter pain medications, heating pads, and warm baths to ease some of the pain. However, there is no long-term cure for endometriosis, and it takes time to find the right combination of medical and home treatments for each individual person to manage their pain.
Sometimes, what is often dismissed by people–or their doctors—as normal period symptoms may actually be a sign of something serious with potentially lifelong effects. But even if you feel like you can push through on your own, you deserve to have an expert’s guidance in finding the right treatment for you. “Definitely go to your doctor if you have painful periods; painful periods are not normal, and you just want to make sure everything is okay if you did want to get pregnant,” Culpo cautioned. “You just never know, and you don’t want to wait [until it’s] too late. So I want everybody to take that seriously.”
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