According to the , about 11 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have endometriosis. That’s not a small number. So why do so many of these women end up feeling isolated and alone?
Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility. It can also contribute to chronic pain. But the personal nature of these health issues, along with a sense of stigma around them, means that people don’t always open up about what they’re experiencing. As a result, many women feel alone in their fight against endometriosis.
That’s why it means so much when women in the public eye open up about their own experiences with endometriosis. These celebrities are here to remind those of us with endometriosis that we’re not alone.
1. Jaime King
A busy actress, Jaime King opened up to People magazine in 2015 about having polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. She’s been open about her battles with infertility, miscarriages, and her use of in vitro fertilization ever since. Today she’s mom to two little boys after fighting many years for that title.
2. Padma Lakshmi
In 2018, this author, actress, and food expert wrote an essay for NBC News about her experience with endometriosis. She shared that because her mom also had the disease, she’d been raised to believe the pain was normal.
3. Lena Dunham
In early 2018, she opened up to Vogue about her decision to have a hysterectomy. That caused a bit of an uproar — with many arguing a hysterectomy wasn’t the best choice at her age. Lena didn’t care. She’s continued to be vocal about what’s right for her and her body.
“A lot of people are taught to believe the pain is normal,” she said at the Endometriosis Foundation of America’s Blossom Ball. Her goal was to remind women that endometriosis pain isn’t normal, and that they should “demand that someone takes you seriously.” Halsey even froze her eggs at 23 years old in an attempt to provide fertility options for her future.
5. Julianne Hough
The actress and two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion doesn’t shy away from talking about endometriosis. In 2017, she told Glamour that bringing awareness to the disease is something she’s very passionate about. She’s shared about how she initially mistook the pain as normal. She’s even opened up about how endometriosis has impacted her sex life.
6. Tia Mowry
The actress was still a teen when she first starred in “Sister, Sister.” Years later, she’d begin to experience pain that was eventually diagnosed as endometriosis.
She’s since talked about her struggle with infertility as a result of endometriosis. In October 2018, she wrote an essay about her experience. There, she called on the black community to talk more about the disease so that others could be diagnosed sooner.
7. Susan Sarandon
Mother, activist, and actress Susan Sarandon has been active in the Endometriosis Foundation of America. Her speeches discussing her experience with endometriosis are inspiring and hopeful. She wants all women to know that the pain, bloating and nausea are not OK and that “suffering should not define you as a woman!”
You’re not alone
These seven women are just a small sample of the celebrities who have spoken out about their experiences living with endometriosis. If you have endometriosis, you’re definitely not alone. The Endometriosis Foundation of America can be a great resource of support and information.
Leah Campbell is a writer and editor living in Anchorage, Alaska. A single mother by choice after a serendipitous series of events led to the adoption of her daughter, Leah is also author of the book “Single Infertile Female” and has written extensively on the topics of infertility, adoption, and parenting. You can connect with Leah via Facebook, her website, and Twitter.