Julianne Hough first revealed her struggle with endometriosis (a condition that affects Lena Dunham and Jillian Michaels) in 2008, telling People magazine "she was really scared" by her diagnosis. Now she's empowering women who share her affliction as a spokeswoman for the Get in the Know About ME in EndoMEtriosis campaign. "It felt like a knife was being stabbed in me," Hough told Glamour about her symptoms. "For the longest time, I thought: this is the way my period is," she said. "I didn't want to complain, so I'd just deal with it and ignore it." For many women, understanding their severe menstrual pain is abnormal takes years. Hough gained insight into her condition when at 18 she moved in with a roommate who'd been diagnosed.
Endometriosis is an overgrowth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus causing painful, sometimes debilitating, cramping. It affects one in 10 women of reproductive age. But many suffering with endo are undiagnosed. "Being educated and understanding what I have makes me feel powerful. Not understanding it, ignoring it and saying I was fine put me in a weaker position."