For Julianne Hough, living with endometriosis is just a part of her everyday life. The Dancing With the Stars judge, 28, is also a spokesperson for Get in the Know About Me in EndoMEtriosis campaign, one that's close to her heart.
The seasoned dancer was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2008 after suffering the symptoms for years.
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"When I was on Dancing With the Stars in 2008, I had really, really bad pain to the point where I had to actually leave the show. I was so scared," Hough told ET of her condition. "I went to the hospital and everything. Fortunately, I had a great doctor who was able to diagnose me with endometriosis and it was such a relief because it was like, 'Oh, I actually have a name to this pain.' It was comforting knowing that it wasn't just something I had to deal with."
Hough wanted to use her diagnosis and knowledge to help others who might be suffering from the same symptoms.
"I just want people to feel supported and women to know they're not alone in this," she said. "I know I'm a tough cookie so I just want everybody else to know too. You don't necessarily have to go through debilitating pain and just act like nothing's wrong if you are having these symptoms."
While Hough has been able to maintain her healthy active lifestyle, she did note that she occasionally has to slow down and tweak her workouts to manage the pain.
"Not gonna lie, I definitely still have to stop certain things and take a few minutes if there are sharp pains," she admitted. "So, you know, it's not fun. But I think because I have been open about it and I talk about it, people get it and it doesn't feel like I have to hide it or that I have to bear through it. It's like, 'Hey, can you give me just a minute?' And they're like, 'Yeah, absolutely.'"
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One such person is Hough's fiancé, Brooks Laich, who learned about her condition over time.
"And what's amazing too is my fiancé, at the beginning of our relationship was like, 'What's going on?' when I would have -- I call them 'episodes' -- where I would have really bad pain and I'd be curled over. He'd be like, 'Are you ok?'" she recalled. "And now that I'm able to talk openly with him, he's so supportive and gets it. And he's not freaked out anymore."
Thankfully, the couple is moving forward with their upcoming wedding plans. For more on the big day, watch the clip below!