Penny McNamee

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Home and Away star Penny McNamee is speaking out.  

In an interview with New Idea published on Monday, the Sydney-raised actress revealed her battle with endometriosis and struggles with fertility. 

"I was taught from a very young age to be very discreet about my period and that it is a very embarrassing thing," she said. "I feel now, at age 35, really angry that that's the way it is. I've lost years of having children and suffered through years of pain, so now I'm forcing myself to talk about it."

The Channel 7 star told the publication she had suffered crippling pain for more than 20 years and had taken "an unhealthy amount of pain killers" as a result.

As it turned out, she actually had endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can also affect fertility.

Penny learnt of her diagnosis after trying for a second child with husband Matt Tooker.

"We've been so blessed to have one beautiful little boy, but it did take a long time to conceive him and I really just got lucky," she told New Idea. 

"It was when we started trying for our second child that I went and got a whole lot of tests done.

"Even then, doctors can't be sure you have this disease–they have to guess from your symptoms–and the only way to diagnose it is from surgery."

The star underwent surgery this February and said she had been virtually pain-free since.

Penny, who plays doctor Tori Morgan on Home and Away, also took to Instagram on Tuesday to share her struggles with the condition that affects one in 10 Australian women.

"I am so frustrated that I have spent 20 years battling a disease I didn't know I had, and have lost years trying for more children," she posted.

"After a diagnosis and surgery in February, my quality of life has changed dramatically. So I am spreading this message."

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