While the actress, 45, has previously written in her book We’re Going to Need More Wine about having had “eight or nine miscarriages,” last week she revealed that a recent diagnosis might explain why she’s had so much trouble getting pregnant.
“Towards the end of my fertility journey I finally got some answers,” Union said while speaking at the BlogHer conference in New York City on Aug. 8, according to Essence.
“Everyone said ‘You’re a career woman, you’ve prioritized your career, you waited too long and now you’re just too old to have a kid — and that’s on you for wanting a career,’ ” she continued, before adding, “the reality is I actually have adenomyosis.”
Adenomyosis is a type of endometriosis that only occurs in the uterus, according to the Seckin Endometriosis Center. While side effects include an enlarged uterus, extremely heavy and painful periods and chronic pelvic pain, the only cure is to undergo a hysterectomy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“The gag is I had it in my early 20s,” Union remarked, before adding that in the past, doctors didn’t seem to take her symptoms seriously.
“Instead of diagnosing me they were like ‘Oh you have periods that last 9 or 10 days and you’re bleeding through overnight pads…perhaps there’s something more there,’ ” she remarked, before adding that “every doctor I saw was like let me put you on birth control.”
The Being Mary Jane star went on to explain that being “on birth control for anything other than birth control” will only mask whatever problem you’re having — not fix it.
“The pill can mask all kinds of things,” she added. “It is amazing at preventing pregnancy; not so great with addressing adenomyosis.”
RELATED VIDEO: Gabrielle Union’s Heartbreaking Struggle With Infertility: ‘I’ve Had 8 or 9 Miscarriages’
“I never wanted kids,” she previously told PEOPLE. “Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I’d rather be than with them.”
The pair raise Wade’s nephew Dahveon Morris and sons from a previous marriage Zaire and Zion (Wade’s third son Xavier conceived with another woman while Wade and Union were broken up, lives with his mother).
Dealing with infertility while being in the public eye hasn’t been easy for Union.
“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, [they ask] ‘Do you want kids?’” she told PEOPLE. “A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause.”