Lifestyle Health Olivia Culpo Reveals Endometriosis Diagnosis, Urges Others with Symptoms to 'Take It Seriously' "It could get in the way of your fertility," said the model, stressing the importance of getting checked by a doctor By Georgia Slater Georgia Slater Twitter Georgia Slater is a writer/reporter on the Parents team at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 27, 2020 01:17 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Olivia Culpo. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Olivia Culpo is getting candid about her personal health struggles. On Wednesday, the model shared on Instagram Stories her experience with "the most excruciatingly painful cramps/periods," telling fans for the first time that she has endometriosis. "I've never publicly said this before but I have endometriosis," she wrote on her story as she cuddled with her dog on the couch. "Anyone else reading this have Endo? No fun." According to the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue similar to the tissue that typically lines the inside of a woman's uterus grows outside of the uterus. This outer tissue becomes trapped in other parts of the body, causing severe pain during menstrual periods. It can also lead to fertility issues. Olivia Culpo/Instagram The 28-year-old went on to detail her experience with the disorder and said she was surprised to learn that many of her followers had the same issues. "I can't believe that a lot of you also suffer from endometriosis," she said. "It is so not fun, very painful." Olivia Culpo's Boyfriend Christian McCaffrey Reacts to Her SI Swimsuit Cover: 'A Constant Inspiration' While surgery is an option for some people, Culpo said that she is not interested in undergoing the procedure and instead has been using "lots of heating pads, lots of water and lots of Midol, honestly." The Sports Illustrated model went on to address an aspect of the disorder which she thinks is "really important" for those suffering to keep in mind. "If you are having very painful periods and you are not being diagnosed with what you think could be endometriosis, definitely do your research because if you don't discover that you have this, it could get in the way of your fertility," she explained. "You could have tissue growing in areas that you really shouldn't have that would interfere with maybe getting pregnant some day, your eggs could be getting damaged." Olivia Culpo/Instagram Olivia Culpo/Instagram "Definitely go to your doctor if you have painful periods. Painful periods are not normal," she warned. "You just want to make sure that everything is ok if you did want to get pregnant. You just never know. You don't want to wait too late, so I want everyone to take that seriously." Culpo also tagged her doctor in the post, who she said "has a lot of information about Endo" on her page. Olivia Culpo Opens Up About Her Past Battle with Depression: 'It's Ok to Not Be Ok' A few hours later, the model followed up on her Instagram Stories with another example of why it's so important to visit the doctor sooner rather than later. "The reason why I'm so passionate about talking about this is because my doctor tells me about people who come to her in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s about not having been able to have kids," she said. "The thing that's so sad about that is because they may have had endometriosis that may have affected their fertility in some way and if they had caught it earlier, they could have frozen their eggs," Culpo explained. "There would have been more options." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories In closing out her post, she again urged that anyone with symptoms of endometriosis should "take it seriously." "Figure out what your egg count is and then maybe look into other options if you have to," she suggested. Culpo joins a list of celebrities who have talked openly about their experiences with endometriosis. Last week Savannah Chrisley shared her progress after having surgery for the condition. Lena Dunham, Julianne Hough and Padma Lakshmi have also shared their struggles in the past.