Olivia Culpo has something she wants anyone suffering from a painful period to hear.
On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover star shared a personal diagnosis with fans on social media: she has endometriosis. "I've never publicly said this before but I have endometriosis," she wrote on her Instagram Story. "Aka the most excruciatingly painful cramps/periods. Anyone else reading this have Endo? No fun."
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus—on the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, or intestines—causing pain and issues with menstruation.
After revealing her diagnosis, fans let Culpo know that they understand what it's like. "I can't believe that a lot of you also suffer from endometriosis," she said. "It is so not fun, very painful."
The star noted that while there is the option of surgery, she does not really want to get it. In the meantime, she weathers the pain with heating pads, water and "lots of Midol, honestly."
While addressing fans on Instagram, the 28-year-old also candidly explained why seeking an official diagnosis can have a major impact in the future if you are planning to get pregnant.
"The thing I'm gonna say about endometriosis that I just think is really important is if you are having very painful periods and you are not being diagnosed with what you think could be endometriosis, definitely do your research because if you don't discover that you have this, it could get in the way of your fertility," she warned. "You could have tissue growing in areas that you really shouldn't have that would interfere with maybe getting pregnant some day, your eggs could be getting damaged."
She urged, "Definitely go to your doctor if you have painful periods. Painful periods are not normal. You just want to make sure that everything is ok if you did want to get pregnant. You just never know. You don't want to wait too late, so I want everyone to take that seriously."
Culpo reflected on the stories she's heard from her doctor of women who were unable to get pregnant and might have unknowingly had endometriosis.
"The reason why I'm so passionate about talking about this is because my doctor tells me about people who come to her in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s about not having been able to have kids," she shared. "The thing that's so sad about that is because they may have had endometriosis that may have affected their fertility in some way and if they had caught it earlier, they could have frozen their eggs. There would have been more options."
As a result, the model advised that anyone with similar symptoms look further into it. "I just feel like if you're someone out there with super painful periods, it's very important to take it seriously," she said, "and just figure out what your egg count is and then maybe look into other options if you have to."