After pain caused a trip to the emergency room, Olivia Culpo revealed that she has an ovarian cyst because of endometriosis. In the model’s Instagram stories, she explained that she soon would undergo laparoscopic surgery to treat the condition and wanted to share her experience to help others struggling with endometriosis.
“Haven’t been feeling well,” she wrote in her story. “A lot of you know I have endo and the other day I had pain on my right side. Went to the ER and hello ovarian cyst!!! I was hesitant to share this but when I opened up about endometriosis I was shocked to hear how many women could relate. I feel like it is so important we support one another by normalizing the conversation around reproductive health.”
Last month, Culpo disclosed her endometriosis diagnosis in her Instagram stories, according to People magazine. Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus and forms cysts. People with endometriosis experience debilitating pain, nausea, fatigue and infertility. As many as 11% of American women ages 15 to 44 have it, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
In her latest story, Culpo asked fans for advice to help her prepare for surgery and manage the pain.
“Thank you so much for the tips and tricks. I’m going to eat a lot of ginger, that’s what everyone suggested,” she said in her story. “I cut out caffeine completely … and that definitely has helped. I feel a little less pain.”
Culpo says that hearing from others has eased her fears as she faces surgery and that she hopes that learning about her experience can help others with endometriosis.
“I am going to try to document as much of the experience as I can to try to walk everyone through it because I’m very scared and I found a lot of comfort at looking at other people’s experiences,” she said.
Culpo is the latest celebrity to share their experience with endometriosis. Julianne Hough, Padma Lakshmi and Lena Dunham all divulged their histories with endometriosis to raise awareness of the condition. Last month, Olympic figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski revealed she had surgery to treat her endometriosis after ignoring her symptoms for years.
“I still had intermittent pain that I overlooked. And I probably didn’t describe my symptoms accurately or forcefully enough for them to suspect endometriosis. Over the last five years the pain progressed, but because it wasn’t constant or startlingly intense I just chose to ignore it,” Lipinski wrote.
According to the American Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it takes anywhere from four to 11 years for an endometriosis diagnosis.
Culpo hopes that by sharing her story she can encourage those with endometriosis to seek help and support.
“It’s so important we support one another by normalizing the conversation around reproductive health,” she wrote. “This stuff is not fun and we should not feel embarrassed to talk about it.”