Brandi Rhodes Diagnosed with Endometriosis After Doctors Dismissed Her Symptoms for 3 Years: 'This Is So Wrong'

"I kept going until I found an answer," the former WWE star said of her health journey

<p>Leon Bennett/Getty </p> Brandi Rhodes

Leon Bennett/Getty

Brandi Rhodes
  • Brandi Rhodes was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis after years of having her symptoms dismissed

  • The former WWE star underwent surgery to have the endometrial tissue removed earlier this week

  • She is now encouraging other women to advocate for themselves and their health 

Brandi Rhodes revealed she was diagnosed with endometriosis after doctors dismissed her symptoms for three years.

The former professional wrestler, 40, recently spoke to TODAY and opened up about dealing with a lot of “internal pain” after becoming pregnant with her daughter Liberty.

"It felt like something inside, whether it was an ovary or my uterus, just felt really irritated and aggravated," she told the outlet.

Rhodes’ doctor told her it was just something that many women go through and it would go away after birth. However, her pain persisted even after giving birth in June 2021.

Rhodes was then told to try pelvic floor therapy.  After seeing multiple specialists over the next three years, she only had a little bit of relief. In addition to pain, she was dealing with other symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles, heavy periods and severe bloating.

"One day I'd wake up in the morning and I felt normal and fine and (could see) my abs," she recalled, "and then another day I would wake up and I would look three months pregnant."

"Then I found myself back at the doctor again," she said. "And that doctor really waved it off. She didn't really show concern. She really didn't have a lot of questions."

Related: 18 Celebrities Who Are Spreading the Word About the Pain of Endometriosis

<p>Brandi Rhodes/Instagram</p>

Brandi Rhodes/Instagram

Related: WWE Star Maryse Mizanin to Undergo Hysterectomy After 11 Pre-Cancerous Tumors Were Found on Her Ovaries

After being referred to a nutritionist and gastroenterologist who incorrectly believed she had symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the athlete said she decided to just give up.

"I just said, you know what, maybe this is in my head," Rhodes — a fitness instructor — said, noting that she started to feel “defeated.”

"That will make you not really want to go out there and conquer the world and help people with their fitness because you're feeling bad yourself."

Rhodes said she found the motivation to push for answers when fellow pro wrestler Maryse Mizanin shared her own health journey on social media earlier this year. Mizanin revealed in February that was diagnosed with a “very rare pre-cancer of the ovaries” after numerous doctors brushed off her symptoms.

"Seeing that really lit a fire under me," Rhodes told the outlet.

The former WWE star then found another doctor to perform a basic pelvic exam and immediately recognized that she likely has endometriosis, the reproductive condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, causing cramping and chronic pain.

"It's been three years. What took so long?" she said, telling her husband and fellow pro wrestler Cody Rhodes that she felt both relieved and frustrated. "I'm so mad. I'm so worked up because I knew something was wrong. And the way that I felt so dismissed in so many different ways... This is so wrong."

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<p>Astrid Stawiarz/Getty</p>

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty

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After Rhodes’ stage four endometriosis diagnosis was confirmed, she underwent surgery to remove the endometrial tissue this week. She is now recovering and hoping to be an advocate so that other women don’t go through similar situations.

"It can feel really discouraging, and you can start to second guess yourself and feel like maybe this is (your) fault. But it's not,” she told the outlet. “You just haven't met the right professional yet."

On May 22, Rhodes posted a photo on Instagram of her hand hooked up to an IV and briefly shared her endometriosis journey with her fans.

“If Maryse didn't share her story, I would still be trying to manage all of this pain on my own,” she wrote. “Someone reading this needed to see that I kept going until I found an answer and now hopefully they know that there's an answer out there for them too.”

“Women...we have to advocate for ourselves and our bodies,” she continued. “It is far too common in the medical world to be dismissed when it comes to Women's health issues. Don't be dismissed. ❤️”

Rhodes joins a list of celebrities who have talked openly about their experiences with endometriosis. Bindi Irwin, Lena Dunham, Halsey, Julianne Hough, Amy Schumer and Padma Lakshmi have also shared their struggles in the past.

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