Kayla Itsines has taken to Instagram to share with her followers she recently underwent her second surgery for endometriosis and is currently recovering slowly.
The fitness queen revealed she has lived with the disorder for much of her adult life, explaining, "It’s a condition where the tissue lining of your uterus is found on other organs, like your ovaries, which then causes pain and complications."
"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’," the 29-year-old wrote.
"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. 1 in 10 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 explained she didn't know at first if what she was feeling abnormal and it took her years before deciding the pain "wasn't right" and saw a doctor and underwent surgery to confirm the diagnosis.
"Just two weeks ago, I had to have more surgery after suffering the worst pain I’ve ever felt," she said. "Since my surgery, some days have been really tough especially when you have a lively daughter on your hands... but I’m so grateful to have my family close by to help me. I’ve been doing everything I can to make sure my body heals, such as light walking on the treadmill. But I’m staying positive and hoping that the procedure helps me to continue managing my symptoms."
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Kayla said she was "so appreciative" of the response she's received from her post.
"I am so appreciative of the kind words and support women have offered me after sharing my experience with endometriosis," she tells us.
"Living with the condition is really challenging but it’s been amazing to hear so many stories and speak to women in the community about their endometriosis journey. As women, our bodies go through so much. I want to encourage women to listen to their bodies and speak to their doctor or healthcare professional if something doesn’t feel right!"
The trainer also shared with us why she decided to post the video of herself walking on the treadmill after her surgery, explaining, "I wanted to open up about my own endometriosis experience to help raise awareness for the condition and show other women who may be in a similar situation that they’re not alone."
"I’ve received so many questions around my surgery, recovery and how I’m feeling now."
Writing for Cosmopolitan, Kayla explained she first put a post up on Instagram about her struggles with endometriosis shortly after launching her highly successful app Sweat in 2015.
"I never anticipated the interest my post received," she wrote.
"Almost immediately, the comments started rolling in, including a swirl of negative speculation about my fertility. I knew that endometriosis could be linked to infertility. Obviously, that knowledge made me feel a bit insecure about my ability to have kids in the future. That said, my doctor told me they didn’t expect I’d have any problem.
"So when people on social media began using the comments of my post as a forum to discuss the possibility that I could be infertile, it really affected me and damaged my confidence. I wanted to tell my story so that others would do the same, but that’s not what happened. Instead, sharing my experience invited people to make judgments as to whether I could have children — something I've always dreamed about," she added.
"As a vulnerable 24-year-old, the only way I could deal was shutting down and vowing never to talk about my health struggles publicly again. The reaction from some people disappointed me, to say the least, but I was able to move forward."
In 2018, Kayla discovered she was pregnant with her daughter Arna, saying she felt so much gratitude for her body for giving her the opportunity to be a mother.
Following the birth of Arna, Kayla's endometriosis symptoms returned and she would later suffer four burst cysts, causing her excruciating pain, with surgery confirming the endo had returned to her uterus and ovaries.
"The last year has shown me that it’s so important to be real and open about the challenges we all face—life is not perfect," Kayla wrote, adding that we should not forget to prioritise our health.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.
Or if you have a story idea, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.