Celebrity Stories

Adenomyosis Awareness Month – 4 celebrities who’ve shared their adenomyosis stories

Emma Harpham, Editor  |   15 Apr 2024


When was the first time you heard the word adenomyosis? Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with it, scrolled by the threads on fertility forums – or perhaps, this is the first time you’re reading an article about it.

The condition often sits in the shadow of its better-known counterpart, endometriosis, earning it the slightly belittling moniker of the ‘evil little sister’. Although the two are similar, they are two different diseases that happen in different places in our bodies. 

And while endometriosis awareness is on the up – buoyed by public figures like Lena Dunham, Chrissy Teigen and Alexa Chung bravely speaking out, plus recently updated guidelines in the US and the UK – adenomyosis still remains less talked about.

Sharing adenomyosis stories to help support others

It can take a long time to reach an adenomyosis diagnosis, and a lack of awareness is just one of the reasons why.

And while each and every individual story and journey is so valid, celebrities do have some serious sway when it comes to boosting awareness, working away at stigmas and starting important conversations.

April is Adenomyosis Awareness Month. So, we’ve rounded up some of the adenomyosis stories that you might not have heard of before, straight from four celebrities with lived experience of the condition.

What is adenomyosis?

First things first – a little background. 

While endometriosis causes endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus, adenomyosis sees this growth happen within the uterine muscle wall, which leads to thickening, swelling and inflammation. 

These two conditions can coexist simultaneously, as well as share symptoms. 

Dr. Collin Smikle, Medical Director at Laurel Fertility Care California told us, “General, period-related symptoms of adenomyosis can include painful periods and heavy bleeds”. But the condition is far from being just a ‘bad period’.

“Other symptoms can happen any time in your menstrual cycle, including pelvic pain, bloating, heaviness or fullness in your abdomen, and pain during sex”, he adds.

This said, around a third of people with adenomyosis have no symptoms at all, potentially delaying diagnosis and treatment.

Celebrities with adenomyosis

1. Gabrielle Union-Wade

Actress Gabrielle Union-Wade has been transparent about her journey with adenomyosis. 

Several years ago, Gabrielle revealed her struggle with unexplained infertility and IVF failures, attributing them both to the condition. 

Despite experiencing symptoms in her early 20s, Gabrielle’s adenomyosis went undiagnosed, with doctors prescribing birth control pills instead of investigating further. 

She has emphasized the need for greater awareness about adenomyosis, cautioning against using birth control as a catch-all solution for period issues, as it may only mask underlying conditions like adenomyosis.

Gabrielle’s journey with adenomyosis has had its challenges, including multiple miscarriages since her marriage to NBA player Dwyane Wade in 2014. 

“Fertility is not an older women’s issue. It’s an issue, period.”, she said.

By sharing her story, she hopes to empower women to advocate for themselves in their healthcare journeys and to break the stigma surrounding fertility issues.

 

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A post shared by Gabrielle Union-Wade (@gabunion)

2. Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer, comedian and actress, has also bravely opened up about her struggles with adenomyosis.

Back in 2020, Amy revealed her battle with adenomyosis alongside endometriosis on the What to Expect podcast, emphasizing the significant impact these conditions have had on her reproductive health. 

“I have really bad endometriosis and adenomyosis,” she shared.

Amy and her husband Chris Fischer have a son, and went through IVF in early 2020 in the hopes of giving him a sibling, but their failed cycle left her feeling unsure if she would opt for another round of IVF.

She told TODAY Parents, “It was really hard on my body and really hard on me emotionally.”

Despite her desire for more children, Amy has also shared that she faced the daunting reality that another pregnancy could pose “life-threatening risks”, and ended up having her uterus and appendix removed as a result of her conditions in 2021.

As such, she revealed that she had been exploring alternative paths to expand her family, including surrogacy.

 

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A post shared by @amyschumer

3. Jaime King

Actress and model Jaime King has also spoken up about her journey with adenomyosis. 

From a young age, she endured excruciating periods, unaware that her symptoms were anything but normal. 

“What I was taught is, if you’re a woman and you menstruate, it’s painful and it sucks and you just deal with it”, Jamie told E! News.

She explained that, even though she came from a “place of privilege”, once she started to seek out answers, it took nine doctors until she received a proper diagnosis.

He confirmed she had adenomyosis, endometriosis and PCOS, and this revelation came with another piece of difficult news: she was facing a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy at the same time.

After her diagnosis, she endured five miscarriages and went through five rounds of IVF before welcoming her two sons.

Her experience reflects the widespread lack of awareness surrounding conditions like adenomyosis, and prompted her to join the team at Allara Health – a collaborative care platform for women with chronic health conditions.

 

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A post shared by Allara Health (@allarahealth)

4. Naga Munchetty

BBC broadcaster Naga Munchetty has recently used her platform to speak up about her experience with adenomyosis.

Flare-ups leave her in so much pain that her husband has had to call her an ambulance in the past. 

“The pain was so terrible I couldn’t move, turn over, sit up. I screamed non-stop for 45 minutes.”, she told her BBC Radio 5 Live listeners.

Like so many of us with the condition, Naga wasn’t formally diagnosed until later in life – at age 47. 

She shared that whilst she was pushing for answers, she felt that doctors weren’t listening to her, and she was even told to ‘suck it up’ on one occasion.

In 2023, she shared her adenomyosis stories with the Women and Equalities Committee, revealing how adenomyosis has left her ‘paranoid’ about bleeding through clothes, forcing her to stick to dark and loose outfits while on her period.

Her daily reality is one that is shared by so many with adeno – and often involves being ‘dosed up’ on painkillers to help her cope. She admitted that she sometimes exceeds ‘what you should take’.

Many women have shared their admiration for Naga for raising awareness of the condition.

 

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A post shared by Freeda (@freeda_en)

Where to learn more this Adenomyosis Awareness Month

You should never have to feel isolated or alone, whether you’re on a fertility journey, chasing a diagnosis for chronic pain, or are currently somewhere in the middle.

Do you have adenomyosis? Pop us a DM on Instagram – we’d love to feature a few of your stories.

Looking for more support, or just want to learn more? Bookmark these resources.  

Header image: Gabrielle Union by Frazer Harrison // Getty Images

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