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Olivia Culpo reveals her endometriosis was dismissed by 12 doctors before diagnosis

Olivia Culpo has spoken out to reveal that her endometriosis was dismissed by multiple doctors before she was finally diagnosed with the condition.

In an appearance on the SHE MD podcast, the 31-year-old model explained to the hosts – former fashion designer and entrepreneur, Mary Alice Haney, and board-certified OB/GYN, Dr Thais Aliabadi – how difficult it was to get diagnosed with endometriosis.

Culpo recalled dealing with “very abnormal symptoms” since she first got her period, however, she felt too embarrassed at the time to tell anyone about what she was experiencing.

“The debilitating pain happened and continued to progress as I got older and that’s when it really started to affect my day-to-day life where I really could not function,” she said. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever been in in my entire life.”

The former Miss Universe continued: “It’s the type of pain that scares you because you know that there’s something wrong and there’s no answer and, at the time, nobody knew what was wrong with me.”

Culpo praised her fiancé Christian McCaffrey for being patient and understanding when she shared what she was going through. The difficulty of navigating her “excruciating” pain led her to confide in him, which in turn made their relationship even stronger as he was there throughout the entire process as she went from doctor to doctor seeking treatment, she said.

The Sports Illustrated model continued: “I have rectovaginal endometriosis… and they’re like, ‘Are you sure you’re wiping correctly? Are you sure that you’re really having these symptoms? Painful periods are normal. No, I can’t give you an ultrasound. Let’s just put you on birth control.’”

She added: “There were people that were trying to rob me for my money and then there were people that just simply thought I was overreacting, which is so, so painful. I mean, you’re sitting there and you literally, I remember I felt like I was going to die. I was in so much pain. And it’s in that lower back, we call it butt lightning, but it’s the worst pain ever.

Olivia Culpo attends The Fashion Awards 2023 presented by Pandora at the Royal Albert Hall on 4 December 2023 in London, England (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Olivia Culpo attends The Fashion Awards 2023 presented by Pandora at the Royal Albert Hall on 4 December 2023 in London, England (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

“You’re hot, you’re hormonal, you’re sensitive, you’re in excruciating pain and then someone’s going to tell you that you’re overreacting or you’re lying, just making you feel insane.”

She said that it took 12 years for her to get a proper diagnosis of endometriosis.

When she went to Dr Aliabadi she finally received the care that she needed.

The doctor carried out an ultrasound on her and found that Culpo had endometrioma on her ovaries. The model has since been able to manage her symptoms thanks to much-needed surgery in November 2020.

Endometriosis is a condition in which the uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, leading to painful cramping and chronic pain among other symptoms.

Over 6.5 million women in the US are affected by the disease, with the majority suffering 10 years before they finally receive the diagnosis and care that they need.