In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month, we’re sharing celebrities who have spoken up about their experiences to bring attention and end the stigma.
March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the tissue inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It can lead to symptoms like pain and excessive bleeding during menstruation, painful ovulation, growth of ovarian cysts, pain during or after sexual intercourse, fatigue, chronic pelvic pain, and in some cases, infertility. Although the disorder causes painful menstruation, the average delay in diagnosis is about seven to ten years because period pain is often normalized among women. It affects one in ten reproductive-aged individuals ages 12-52, meaning almost 200 million women worldwide. Still, the condition often goes undiagnosed and untreated due to conversations around menstrual health labeled as taboo. Female celebrities continue to use their large platforms to share their experience with endometriosis to connect with others and bring attention to the disorder. Here at AfterBuzz TV, we look at celebrities who are opening up to change the conversation.
Celebrities like Dolly Parton, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, Lena Dunham, Padma Lakshmi, Whoopi Goldberg, Jaime King, and Daisy Ridley among many others, have been vocal about their struggles with endometriosis on their social media. Halsey took to Twitter in 2016 to express her “unpredictable life with endo,” and to give other people the chance to share their own experiences.
I spoke with Emmy award-winning tv host Renée Bargh about her journey with endometriosis. Suffering from painful periods since age twelve, Bargh assumed her pain was normal and continued to push through. Three years ago, after taking advice from a friend, she traveled to Palo Alto, California, where endometriosis surgeon specialist, Dr. Camran Nezhat, diagnosed and performed surgery on her. “I felt validated,” Bargh said, “The fact that there was a lot of endometriosis there, there was a lot of scar tissue, and other things going on. I felt like it wasn’t all in my head.”
Bargh hadn’t opened up about her experience until recently on Instagram. “I felt inspired to come out and talk about it just to get the conversation going and to make other young women feel less alone because I felt really alone in the process,” she said.
Sharing her story also provided Bargh some relief. “I think for me, it was a bit of a release,” Bargh expressed, “to be able to let go of that and say it’s something I have been battling, and it doesn’t mean I’m broken. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me.”
She hopes her journey will inspire conversation about endometriosis so that people will be more considerate of those struggling with it. “It’s just understanding it’s a real thing and taking it seriously by doing the research and knowing what comes with it and what the symptoms are,” she said.
While Bargh says she’s doing well at the moment, she has good months and bad months. As she’s currently filming for Dancing with the Stars Australia, she’s noticed some of her symptoms have come back. Endometriosis is a full-time commitment, and she puts in a lot of work to help calm her symptoms. She said, “I’m always open to listening and trying to learn about other possibilities and how else I can fix it.”
Bargh recommends getting as many doctors’ opinions as you can while also focusing on diet and lifestyle for people who have just been diagnosed with the condition or currently struggling. “It’s an ongoing thing that you have to take stock of and be cautious about what you’re putting in your body and how you’re looking out for yourself,” she explained.
Celebrities like Bargh, Halsey, and others are speaking up to end the stigma while also helping others feel less alone. We’ve come a long way regarding awareness of endometriosis, but there is still more work to be done.
Here are some websites you can use to help get involved, whether it’s by volunteering or donating.
Endometriosis Foundation of American (EndoFund)
List of National Endometriosis Organizations