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Olivia Culpo Recalls Being Dismissed by 'At Least 12' Doctors Before Endometriosis Diagnosis: 'So Excruciating'

“It was the worst pain I’ve ever been in in my entire life,” the 31-year-old model said of her endometriosis symptoms

<p>Jeff Schear/Getty</p> Olivia Culpo

Jeff Schear/Getty

Olivia Culpo

Olivia Culpo saw at least a dozen doctors before receiving any help while suffering from endometriosis, the reproductive condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, causing cramping and chronic pain.

The 31-year-old model recently appeared on the SHE MD podcast, hosted by former fashion designer and entrepreneur Mary Alice Haney and board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Thais Aliabadi, who’s known for working with stars like Rihanna and Khloé Kardashian.

During the episode, Culpo recalled dealing with “very abnormal symptoms” since her first period as a young girl. However, she was afraid to speak to anyone about it — even her parents — because it was too “embarrassing.” So, she suffered in silence.

“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 explained. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever been in in my entire life.”

Culpo said that in her late 20s she ultimately had no choice but to share what was going on with her now-fiancé Christian McCaffrey because the pain was “so excruciating” that sometimes she couldn’t leave the house.

“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,” she said, praising McCaffrey for the support he’s given her during her search for the right doctor.

Related: Olivia Culpo Undergoes Surgery for Endometriosis: 'It's Hard When Chronic Pain Is Not Validated'

<p>Olivia Culpo on SHE MD podcast</p> Olivia Culpo, S.H.E MD podcast

Olivia Culpo on SHE MD podcast

Olivia Culpo, S.H.E MD podcast

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The former Miss Universe said on the podcast that she saw at least 12 doctors about her symptoms and her pain was continuously dismissed.

“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 explained.

“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,” she continued. “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.”

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

Culpo said she didn’t get proper help for 12 years and she believes it’s because many doctors are simply uneducated about endometriosis. The Sports Illustrated model wasn’t able to receive a proper her diagnosis until she met Dr. Aliabadi.

“She did one ultrasound and saw that I had an endometrioma right on my ovaries,” she said, noting that she has been managing her symptoms well since undergoing surgery in November 2020.

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