Greek Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines has spoken openly about a disease she has been battling for years, describing the painful symptoms
Kayla Itsines has spoken candidly about her battle with endometriosis, a disease she has lived with most of her adult life.
The 30-year-old said she knew zero about endometriosis when she was officially diagnosed with the condition at 18.
And she is now pushing for more women to feel comfortable talking about it.
“Chances are, if you don’t have it yourself, you will know someone that does … We can all do our part to educate ourselves, and create conversations about women’s issues WITHOUT shame,” she said in a blog post in collaboration with Endometriosis Australia.
“Endometriosis is a condition where tissue, similar to the tissue lining of your uterus, is found on other organs, like your ovaries, which then causes pain and complications.”
Kayla explained the signs and symptoms including pain during or after sex, pain that stops you on or around your period and pain on or around ovulation.
“When it comes to my own experience with endo, I have experienced so many of these,” she said.
“Having heavy, painful periods was one of my biggest symptoms and I remember being so jealous of all of my friends who could carry on as normal during their period because that just wasn’t the case for me. I used to walk around school with heat pads on my stomach because I was in so much pain. Your period shouldn’t be debilitating!”
Kayla also experienced pain in her legs, describing it as a “constant burn or ache” whenever she walked up or down the stairs.
“I always say I have a weak bladder, but I know that’s really due to my endo too.”
“I also started getting cysts that would burst. I’ve had cysts burst mid-workout before and that really sucks. Not everyone gets cysts, but this is what ultimately encouraged me to reach out to my doctor.”
Kayla said she knew almost nothing about endometriosis when she was diagnosed with it all those years ago.
“So after going through the recommended surgeries and learning to live with the disease today … this collaboration is really close to my heart.”
In a previous Instagram post, the Adelaide fitness guru who is the co-founder of the Sweat app said endometriosis can take a long time to get diagnosed for lots of women as it’s “sadly” brushed off as ‘just your time of the month’.
“This is the reason I’m talking to you all about my experience and to try and encourage you to take action if you have very painful periods. One in nine of us have it so you aren’t abnormal or a special case and you won’t be alone if you do get diagnosed like I did.”
Kayla said she didn’t know if what she was feeling during her periods each month was “abnormal”.
“It took me years of living with that pain before deciding it wasn’t right and going to see a doctor to get the surgical treatment I needed and a confirmed diagnosis.”
In February last year, the mother-of-one underwent more surgery after suffering the “worst pain” she’s ever felt.
Since then, she said some days have been “really tough” especially when you have an energetic toddler.
“But I’m so grateful to have my family close by to help me.”
In 2018, three years after sharing her first Instagram post about her battle with the disease, Kayla said she was “over the moon” to discover she was pregnant with her first child, Arna.
“I really couldn’t believe it, and I remember feeling the most enormous sense of gratitude to my body for supporting me – despite my endometriosis struggles – and giving me the opportunity to become a mother. After shouldering the earlier speculation about my fertility, I was so relieved and thankful,” she told the magazine.
More than 830,000 people in Australia currently suffer from endometriosis, with the disease often starting in the teenage years, according to Endometriosis Australia.
Speak to your doctor
If you’re reading this and thinking you might have endo, I encourage you to speak to your doctor. If you’re not sure where to start, organisations like Endometriosis Australia have so much great information available and they are raising funds for research in Australia so we can learn more about what causes endo and how to treat it.
Today, I’m healthy, fit, a businesswoman, a mum – and I have endo. It’s something I will have to live with for the rest of my life and if you have endo too, I want you to know there are so many women around the world that know what it’s like and are here to support you.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.