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“Bachelor” Contestant Lexi Young Was Hospitalized While Filming Due to Endometriosis: 'I Powered Through' (Exclusive)

The 30-year-old opened up to PEOPLE about how having endometriosis impacted her time on Joey Graziadei’s season of ‘The Bachelor’

<p>Disney/Richard Middlesworth</p> Lexi Young

Disney/Richard Middlesworth

Lexi Young

Bachelor contestant Lexi Young’s health unfortunately put her out of contention for Joey Graziadei's heart during season 28 of the reality dating show. But she says she’s found love in other ways from the experience.

The 30-year-old recently opened up to PEOPLE about living with endometriosis — a condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, causing cramping and chronic pain — and how it impacted her run on the show.

Young, a digital strategist from Atlanta, Georgia, says that although it wasn’t shown on TV, she landed in the emergency room while filming in Los Angeles due to the painful condition.

“I actually ended up going to the UCLA hospital while I was on the show,” Young tells PEOPLE. “I had an ovarian cyst burst because I froze my eggs two weeks before going on the show. And so my ovaries were so enlarged from all the hormones that they hadn't come back down yet.”

Praising the producers of the show for taking good care of her, Young admits it was still “hard” having to deal with her endometriosis in that environment while also  traveling often and internationally for the show.

“I wanted to keep it private, but I think it just goes to show it wasn't the perfect ride. I was dealing with this the entire time,” she says. “I'm just very headstrong and I powered through it.”

<p>Disney/John Fleenor</p> Lexi Young and Joey Graziadei on The Bachelor

Disney/John Fleenor

Lexi Young and Joey Graziadei on The Bachelor

Related: The Bachelor Contestant Lexi Young Opens Up About Endometriosis Diagnosis: 'My Pain Was Validated'

But Young’s endometriosis actually resulted in her elimination from the dating show.

During week four, the reality star first shared her endometriosis with Graziadei during their one-on-on date in Malta. However, she later made the decision to leave the show during week 6 after learning that Graziadei wanted a two to three year-long engagement and a few years of marriage before starting a family.

Young told him that because endometriosis put her at an increased risk for infertility, she doesn’t have the "privilege" of waiting to have children but didn't want to stop him from sticking to his timeline.

“I do feel as though I made the right choice… for both Joey and myself. We're on different timelines and that's okay. So I stand down in my decision,” she explains. “I think I could have stayed, and it wouldn't have been fair to Joey. We would've been walking into a marriage with different expectations on what that looks like.”

For Young, coming to terms with her endometriosis journey has been a work in progress, especially learning to accept how the condition can cause infertility. She says her journey actually began in eighth grade when she started experiencing painful periods. “I would be in the bathtub crying, folded over in pain,” she recalls, noting that doctors simply put her on birth control at a young age to “mask” her symptoms.

Related: Bindi Irwin, Olivia Culpo and Chrissy Teigen Suffer from Endometriosis — an Expert Explains the Condition

“There's a difference between a painful period and not being able to function,” she continues. “As I went through high school and college, it just kept getting worse and worse but I was being told by doctors that nothing's wrong.”

Young says at one point she even had to “go to the emergency room because I was losing so much blood.” However, her pain was still often dismissed or misdiagnosed.

It wasn’t until 2019, after moving from San Francisco to New York, that she found a doctor who finally diagnosed her through a laparoscopic surgery. Young was told she had stage 4 endometriosis all over her abdomen, and it had spread to her lungs.

“I'll remember that day for the rest of my life,” she says. “I walked into the hospital and it was like 50% ‘It's finally an answer to my pain,’ and then 50% ‘I don't want to have this incurable condition.’”

“I felt validated for the first time in over a decade,” she adds. “I felt like I actually had a doctor that was listening to me and that my pain was real. I just remember I was so emotional, I burst into tears.”

But with that excitement and relief came fear as Young admits she didn’t know what the diagnosis meant for her life at such a young age. She initially felt “very isolated and alone” after receiving her diagnosis as she didn’t know much about the condition or who to lean on. “It felt like a life sentence in a way,” she admits.

Young has since started physical therapy and connected with a community of women in New York who also have endometriosis, allowing her to find ways to manage symptoms and feel less alone.

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However, she still experiences flares of “endo belly” symptoms up to four times a week, where her abdomen severely swells up. “My abdomen is swollen, and it feels like my ovaries are covered in barbed wire. It's just so painful.”

Doctors tell Young that she will likely need a second surgery, but they’re recommending she waits until she’s closer to the time she’s ready to conceive a child to avoid creating more scar tissue. But As a single woman, Young says she’s not planning to start a family anytime soon, so she’s “just in a waiting game.”

“I am managing the pain through hormone therapy, physical therapy. I watch my diet, but it's an everyday thing that I deal with,” she adds.

As she continues learning how to navigate her endometriosis, Young tells PEOPLE that she’s grateful she had the opportunity to share her story on TV, hoping to raise awareness and let other women with the condition know they aren't alone.

“I was so nervous. It's a heavy topic to bring up, and it's so hyper personal to me,” Young explains. “I just wanted to make sure that I spoke about it in the correct way, and I wanted to make sure I told my story in a way that I'd be proud of. And I do feel like I did.”

In addition to Young, Chrissy Teigen, Olivia Culpo, Bindi Irwin, Amy Schumer and Julianne Hough are also among the 6.5 million women in the U.S. who are affected by the disease.

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Read the original article on People.