Fashion designer, model, and TV personality Alexa Chung opened up about her recent endometriosis diagnosis and called for more awareness around the painful disorder and women’s health issues more broadly.
Chung shared her story regarding endometriosis on Instagram with a photo of her feet in hospital socks and a caption for it describing how she underwent laparoscopic surgery one year ago to reveal her diagnosis. Chung is the latest celebrity to come forward about her diagnosis following the footsteps of others like Amy Schumer and Padma Lakshmi.
Endometriosis “can be excruciating,” Chung wrote.
“Endometriosis is a long-term condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes,” her heartfelt post begins. “It can be excruciating. The pain can [affect] your mental health, ability to work, relationships, your fertility, the list goes on. The only way to officially diagnose that you have it is by performing a laparoscopy. A year ago I put on these snazzy socks in preparation for my laparoscopic surgery.”
Chung then thanked friends Aimee Phillips and Pixie Geldof “for accompanying me to the hospital that day” as well as “family who nursed me back to health with action movies and nourishing food.”
Chung also thanked her doctors in the post.
“Also thank you to the doctors who spotted the problem and acted on it,” she continued. “I understand I had the privilege of being believed and listened to. On average it takes seven years to diagnose and it’s a disease that affects one in ten women.”
Endometriosis is common and affects about 1 in 10 women. Despite that fact, the causes of the disorder are largely unknown and there is no long-term cure, according to the Mayo Clinic. Chung went on to encourage raising awareness of endometriosis for this very reason.
“Maybe let’s get some research going into this women’s health issue.”
“Anyway, maybe by raising some #endometriosisawareness I might be able to help someone [recognize] what they have sooner. ???? ,” the Next in Fashion host wrote. “PS. Also not funny but sort of is because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, this is what the top google answer says: ‘It’s not clear what causes endometriosis. It may be linked to things like your genes or a problem with your immune system.’ Maybe let’s get some research going into this women’s health issue so it can go from something ‘not clear’ aka myssssttterrrrious to known about and treatable. :)”
Lakshmi gave a powerful interview recently and discussed her struggles with the disorder and getting a diagnosis.
In an interview with Women’s Health, Lakshmi didn’t mince words and said she felt “pissed” over getting a late diagnosis.
“At first, I was relieved. It wasn’t until a year after the surgery that I started getting really pissed,” the Taste the Nation host acknowledged. “Like, ‘Wait a minute, I lost a week of my life every month of every year since I was 13 because of this sh*t, and I could have had this operation at 20 rather than 36?'” she added. “I’m shocked that a health professional didn’t say, ‘This is weird. Your cramps are above and beyond what they should be.'”
As Chung noted, it often takes sufferers years to get a proper diagnosis. While it’s frustrating to read the same story again and again, by pushing for greater awareness, these powerful women are helping to change the conversation around the inconsistencies in health care that women (especially minority women) face.
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