Olivia Culpo Says Doctors Dismissed Her Before Endometriosis Diagnosis

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Originally appeared on E! Online

There was a time when Olivia Culpo wasn't being heard by her doctors.

The model—who was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2020 after years of experiencing symptoms—recently revealed how difficult it was for her to receive proper help and care. In fact, the former Miss Universe winner saw "at least 12" doctors before she learned what was causing her health issues.

"I have rectovaginal endometriosis," she said on the March 12 episode of S.H.E. MD's podcast, recalling doctors telling her, "'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 right now. Let's just put you on birth control.'"

Rectovaginal endometriosis is one of the most severe forms of the condition, according to Healthline, as it can penetrate deep into the vagina, rectum and the tissue that lies between the two. Endometriosis is a reproductive condition in which the uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus.

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"There were people that were trying to rob me for my money," Olivia expressed, "and then there were people that just simply thought I was overreacting. I remember I felt like I was going to die, I was in so much pain."

She continued, "You're hot, you're hormonal, you're sensitive, you're in excruciating pain, and then someone's going to tell you you're overreacting or lying, just making you feel insane."

Olivia Culpo
Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Verizon

Luckily, Olivia had a strong support system throughout this experience, including her now-fiancé Christian McCaffrey.

She recalled how he wanted to get answers for her, noting, "Christian was calling all the people he knew in the sports world, trying to get somebody to help me."

It wasn't until the Sports Illustrated model met with OB/GYN Dr. Thais Aliabad—who is also the co-host of the podcast S.H.E. MD—that she was diagnosed with endometriosis.

"She did one ultrasound," Olivia explained, "and saw that I had Endometrioma right on my ovaries."

Since undergoing surgery in November 2020, the 31-year-old has been able to manage her symptoms.

However, she wishes it didn't take so long to understand her health issues.

"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 could not function," she shared. "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."

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