Olivia Culpo Tells Us About Her Endometriosis Journey & Wellness Tips!
Following on from Endometriosis Awareness Month, which we celebrated throughout March, you guys asked us tons of questions and flooded our inbox with positive comments. So, we’ve decided to continue the discussion as endometriosis is such an important topic and one that doesn’t get a lot of air-time as it’s actually quite commonly misdiagnosed! Plus, it’s a life-long condition – it doesn’t have a month’s expiration date.
We reached out to one of our fave endo-warriors who uses her social media platform to spread the word, educate, and offer guidance and support to other women who may be experiencing the same thing: Olivia Culpo. Supermodel, actor, SHE-EO, designer, Miss Universe, baking pro, not to mention a queen on the cello, Olivia is a total babe! Honestly when you look at her list of accolades, sometimes we wonder if there’s anything she can’t do and that’s all while suffering from chronic pain caused by endometriosis. Seriously, she’s incredible!
Olivia first shared her journey when she opened up to her followers, asking for advice on how to deal with the painful symptoms of endometriosis including cramps, inflammation, and back pain. Ever since she’s documented everything she’s learned in the hope that she can help other women understand their bodies better. She also bravely shared her surgery story and her openness and vulnerability were inspiring to see. Literally, no topic was off the table, from her scars to post-surgery inflammation, which is rare to witness on social media.
From nutrition tips to wellness hacks and need-to-know surgery deets, here’s Olivia’s endo-journey in her own words.
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You recently shared some details about your endometriosis journey. How did it begin & what was the diagnosis process like?
The diagnosis process for my endometriosis was pretty difficult because endometriosis is not something that can be seen on an ultrasound. It’s typically only confirmed through a pathology report after laparoscopic surgery. Often times you can get an idea that someone has endometriosis through symptoms so it took years and years for me to finally get the validation that I needed for my symptoms. I remember finally receiving an answer and being so relieved that it wasn’t another doctor telling me that “painful periods are normal.”
Earlier this year, you bravely documented your endometriosis surgery on social media. What was the process like and why did you feel it was important to share?
It felt really important for me to share my endometriosis experience. When I was in the process of figuring out why I was constantly in pain, I relied heavily on Google, social media, and blogs like Reddit. I feel like it is so important to pay it forward and be a resource for other women who have questions and want guidance. I am so happy that at the end of the day, something good could come out of this experience. It’s an honor to be able to connect with so many women going through the same thing!
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How long did you experience endometriosis symptoms prior to surgery and how have your symptoms changed since?
I would say I had symptoms for five years before surgery but they got progressively worse with every cycle. The pain eventually became too much to handle and was affecting every area of my life. That’s when I knew I needed to do something about it. My symptoms have improved so much since surgery and I’m over the moon! For me, surgery and birth control combined took away discomfort almost immediately. I feel so lucky.
You’ve spoken about your painful PMS symptoms, what are your go-to tips, products, or hacks to ease the pain?
I have a lot of tips! Number one for me is definitely a warm bath. That was always my go-to. I also recommend heating pads, mint tea, and a massage. To relieve pain, Midol was the only thing that did the trick. I would take the decaffeinated version before bed so it didn’t keep me awake.
For more amazing products to soothe endometriosis symptoms, read this.
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What self-care rituals do you rely on to help ease endometriosis symptoms, both mentally and physically?
Cutting out or decreasing caffeine, sugar, and alcohol helped manage symptoms but unfortunately never got rid of it completely. I tried really hard to take a more holistic approach and unfortunately, it never ended up fully working. Rest and taking time to stretch are also really important for pain management. As far as self-care goes, I think the best thing you can do to manage chronic pain is: really just take it easy; don’t over-exert yourself, and be kind to your body. Also, advocate for the help you need, and always listen to your body.
For more endo stories, check out Huda’s struggle with endometriosis.