Shelley Hopper shared her endometriosis scars in a super-powerful Instagram post to raise awareness of the condition.

By Allie Strickler
Updated: March 22, 2019

Endometriosis is an extremely common health condition, affecting one in 10 women of reproductive age, but that doesn't mean it's immune to misinformation and myths. That's exactly why influencer Shelley Hopper took to Instagram recently to raise awareness about endometriosis.

In Hopper's post, which features an overhead shot of her stomach covered in scars from past surgeries, she describes the countless challenges and side effects that can come with endometriosis. She also debunked the many myths she's heard when talking to people about her condition. (Related: This Woman's Struggle with Endometriosis Led to a New Outlook On Fitness)

"#THISISENDOMETRIOSIS: Cuts and scars and myths and sickness...Surgeries after surgeries to try and get relief." Hopper wrote. "Desperation. Food intolerances. Digestive and absorption issues. Trouble gaining weight or losing weight. Respiratory issues. Chronic pelvic pain. Painful sex. Reoccurring infections. Hormonal imbalances. Fatigue. Joint pain. Infertility. Anxiety & depression."

Hopper also points out that endometriosis is an "incurable disease that has no known cause," and it can take as long as a decade to receive a proper diagnosis. Endometriosis is extremely complicated, but the myths surrounding the condition are sometimes even more puzzling. (Related: The Endometriosis Symptoms You Need to Know About)

In her post, Hopper recounts myths and not-so-helpful tips she's received after sharing her condition, like "'Just get pregnant!' or 'A hysterectomy cured my Aunt Jan!' and 'Just take birth control!'"

"(PS - All are FALSE statements; Endometriosis has NO CURE) ‼️" she added.

Unfortunately, Hopper's right: There's no cure for endometriosis, and typically treatment will involve medication (which might include birth control, but not always), surgery (again, this might be a hysterectomy, but it's not a given), in addition to certain home remedies, like warm baths and heating pads to ease some of the painful symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. However, treatment methods for endometriosis depend on individual symptoms. To echo Hopper, the solution is definitely not as simple as "just getting pregnant" or "just taking birth control."

Hopper's post includes the hashtag #ThisIsEndometriosis that's currently trending for March's Endometriosis Awareness Month. Her Instagram is one of the thousands to show what it's really like to live with the condition, giving a front-row look at the scars accumulated from years of various treatments and surgeries. Many of these endometriosis sufferers, including Hopper, have written the dates of their surgeries next to their scars, and connected each scar to create constellation-like shapes. (Related: This Photographer Is Destigmatizing Scars By Sharing the Stories Behind Them)

There's no doubt that endometriosis is a painful condition to live with (in more ways than one), but these photos bring a sense of community and strength into the conversation. These women have endured so much, both physically and mentally, and they're not afraid to share their scars, their stories, and their experiences, rather than feel ashamed. Much like the physical scars on their bodies, these women's stories help them connect with one another on a much deeper level. (Related: Selena Gomez Shares How She's Embracing Her Post-Transplant Scars) No matter how isolating endometriosis may feel, posts like Hopper's serve as a reminder that you are never alone.

If you want to join the conversation, be sure to use the hashtag #ThisIsEndometriosis.

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