Celebrity life may seem sweet, but the truth is that even famous people are human beings who have to deal with health issues. Everyone's favorite Dancing with the Stars judge recently opened up to Women's Health about her endometriosis, and her honesty is a game-changer for anyone who's ever experienced pain during intimate moments. Julianne Hough's quotes about how endometriosis affects her sex life paint a vivid picture of how the condition really impacts her relationship with husband Brooks Laich.
Endometriosis is a pretty common but painful health condition in which the tissue lining your uterus is found growing outside the uterus, according to Planned Parenthood.
"I first started experiencing symptoms back when I was 15, but I thought it was just what it feels like to be a girl with bad periods," the 30-year-old dancer, actress, and singer shared with Women's Health. "I didn't think to go to the gynecologist. Because I’m a competitor, I felt like I had to push through the pain and just work."
Even years after finally being diagnosed at age 20, Hough says it still affects her life in many ways. For example, she admits that it's definitely made its mark on her sex life with husband.
“It can definitely cut things short,” she opened up to Women's Health. “Sometimes we’re in the middle and I’m just like ‘AH, stop!’ It can be really frustrating.”
That being said, the discomfort isn't holding her and her former-NHL-player hubby back in the bedroom. If anything, it's just forced them to get more creative.
“He only wants to love on me and make me feel good,” she told the magazine. “There’s so much intimacy without actually having sex. There are some cool things we’ve learned and it’s literally been awesome.”
Hough's interview proves that a steamy, satisfying sex life is absolutely possible if you have endometriosis — it just requires an open mind, patience, creativity, and communication. If you share Hough's symptoms or diagnosis, know that you're not alone.
"Endometriosis is one of the most common conditions that affects young women," Sanjay Agarwal, M.D, F.A.C.O.G., director of fertility services, and professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UC San Diego Health, tells Women's Health. "Women can suffer in pain for as long as 10 years before seeking help."
Despite it being so incredibly common, when Hough was first diagnosed, she admits to Women's Health that she felt incredibly alone.
“It was an emotional trauma,” she told the publication. “At the time, I felt very lonely and like nobody understood me. I had no idea that [so many women] had endometriosis.”
Now that Hough has come to better terms with her condition, she encourages other women who have been diagnosed to educate themselves and accept it as just one part of who they are.
“The more educated you become, the more powerful you’re going to feel,” she told Women's Health. “You have two choices: You can hate it, or it can just become part of you. It doesn’t need to define you, it’s just an aspect of who you are.”