Tara Lipinski Shares Her Endometriosis Story In Hopes That It Helps the Many Women Who Go Undiagnosed Find Comfort

Tara Lipinski Shares Her Endometriosis Story In Hopes That It Helps the Many Women Who Go Undiagnosed Find Comfort

Eighteen years after striking gold at the Winter Olympics in Japan, Tara Lipinski is opening up about the recent endometriosis surgery she underwent. As many of Lipinski’s fans already know, the retired athlete became a household name at just 15 years old when she became the youngest skater to win an Olympic gold medal in 1998.

RELATED: Olivia Culpo Opens Up On Endometriosis Diagnosis

Since leaving figure skating as an athlete following her historic journey to the Olympics, Lipinski is now a commentator for the sport on NBC. But as Tara is sharing through her social media platforms, there is more to her than just skating.

Along with a series of photos after undergoing surgery, Lipinski revealed she had dealt with the painful disorder known as endometriosis. “This is me two weeks ago before going in for laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis,” Lipinski wrote. “I know I could have chosen to move on and not share my experience, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to help even a few people.”

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This is me two weeks ago before going in for a laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis. I know I could have chosen to move on and not share my experience, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to help even a few people- to inform and support other women who may be struggling with this painful disease. As an athlete I’ve been conditioned to be hyper competitive about succumbing to pain and injury, something that definitely helped during my skating career. But it’s probably not the best approach now. I went in and out of this surgery pretending it wasn’t happening and telling myself to feel no pain and get back to my normal routine immediately. And while I feel lucky to be “back in the game” under the care of an incredible surgeon, I still thought I’d share my journey, hopefully to bring more awareness to this condition.  For starters, I am a very health conscious person. I’m always testing and checking for illness or things that feel “off,” and keeping myself as healthy and informed as possible has been a priority. I’ve always felt like an encyclopedia of what could physically go wrong with my body- and I’ve taken pride in that. The irony of my endometriosis diagnosis is that I knew almost nothing about a disorder that affects one in ten women. That’s 176 million people. I’d never heard another woman mention “endo” or the complications and pain that accompany it. And that definitely shows the lack of information that’s out there and the comfort level that affected women have discussing their endometriosis. Endo is a disease in which cell similar to the lining of the uterus are found outside of the uterus. Endo lesions can grow on your organs (bladder, ovaries, bowels to name a few) causing scarring and adhesions, and that can sometimes result in these organs sticking together. This is all accompanied by inflammation and pain. 
 I think the more we talk about endometriosis, the more proactive we can be about treatment. To me, it feels like a hush hush topic that women feel they just need to tough out. No woman should live in pain or think “this is just something I have to deal with.” My story began years ago. I am one of the lucky ones. CONT IN SLIDES

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Tara Lipinski Shares Her Endometriosis Story

She said she hopes that by sharing her story, it will “inform and support other women who may be struggling with this painful disease.”

“As an athlete, I’ve been conditioned to be hyper-competitive about succumbing to pain and injury, something that definitely helped during my skating career. But it’s probably not the best approach now. I went in and out of this surgery pretending it wasn’t happening and telling myself to feel no pain and get back to my normal routine immediately. And while I feel lucky to be “back in the game” under the care of an incredible surgeon, I still thought I’d share my journey, hopefully, to bring more awareness to this condition.”

Despite being a self-described very health-conscious person, Lipinksi said she took “pride” in feeling very in tune with her body. She’s always felt like she could always know what could physically go wrong with her body.

But when it came to endometriosis, she admitted she “knew almost nothing about a disorder that affects one in ten women. That’s 176 million people.”

“I’d never heard another woman mention ‘endo’ or the complications and pain that accompany it. And that definitely shows the lack of information that’s out there and the comfort level that affected women have discussing their endometriosis.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, “endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus. The disorder most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis. With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue acts as endometrial tissue would — it thickens, breaks down, and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. But because this tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped.”

Endometriosis can cause fertility issues depending on the severity of the disorder. But the good news is there are treatments available to help.

“I think the more we talk about endometriosis, the more proactive we can be about treatment. To me, it feels like a hush-hush topic that women feel they just need to tough out. No woman should live in pain or think ‘this is just something I have to deal with,'” Lipinski continued.
 
According to the retired figure skater, Lipinski said her “story began years ago,” but she considers herself “one of the lucky ones.” She considers herself lucky in that the symptoms she endured were not common and that she didn’t deal with the crippling pain like most women do.

But as the pain she did feel started to become more and more consistent in recent years, Lipinski made it her mission to find the best surgeon out there to help her manage. And that’s when she came across Dr. Iris Orbuch.

“I had an excision procedure, that uses robotic scissors to cut the endo from the places where it exists. My surgery was a success. I had a ‘moderate amount of endo’ and pretty much 100 percent of it was removed. I feel lucky that my recovery has been mainly pain free. This certainly isn’t the case with all women- every case, surgery, and recovery is unique.”

RELATED: Alexa Chung Opens Up About Endometriosis Diagnosis and Calls for More Research

Lipinski again said that she’s one of the lucky ones, while many women can go eight to 10 years before receiving a diagnosis, that is not okay. And the figure skater isn’t the first to open up about her endometriosis. Lipinksi joins the likes of Julianne Hough, Olivia Culpo, Savannah Chrisley, and more.

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