'DWTS' Alum Julianne Hough Reveals Endometriosis Diagnosis Can Make Intimate Life 'Really Frustrating'

Life for Julianne Hough isn't going as smoothly as her dance moves after she admitted her battle with endometriosis is bringing about "frustrating" changes to her sex life with husband, Brooks Laich.

"It can definitely cut things short," she said during an interview with Women's Health. "Sometimes we're in the middle and I'm just like 'AH, stop!' It can be really frustrating."

The 30-year-old said she first started experiencing the pain at the age of 15. It was because of her competitive nature that she powered through it and chose not to seek help at the time.

"I thought it was just what it feels like to be a girl with bad periods," she said. "I didn't think to go to the gynecologist. Because I'm a competitor, I felt like I had to push through the pain and just work."

Dr. Sanjay Agarwal, director of fertility services and a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UC San Diego Health, says that endometriosis is a common condition that affects young women in the U.S.

"Women can suffer in pain for as long as 10 years before seeking help," he said.

Endometriosis is when the tissue that makes up the uterine lining — known as the lining of the womb — appears on other organs inside of the woman's body. This can cause abdominal pain, extreme pain with periods or when having sex, and some may have issues reproducing.

The actress drew her last straw when she had to be rushed to the emergency room during a live shooting of Dancing With the Stars when she was just 20 years old.

"I was just waiting for a commercial break. I went to the ER and nobody could tell me what was wrong with me."

After seeking answers on what was happening to her body, especially after years of taking care of herself and staying in shape, Hough reveals a gynecologist in Los Angeles, California performed a pelvic exam and suggested a laparoscopy — a surgical procedure where doctors are able to determine if it's endometriosis or not. Shortly after, she was diagnosed.

Hough does have a family history of the condition, but that didn't stop her from feeling isolated.

"It was an emotional trauma. At the time, I felt very lonely and like nobody understood me. I had no idea that [so many women] had endometriosis."

Luckily, the former DWTS judge says her husband and professional hockey player, Brooks Laich, is understanding of the circumstances.

"He only wants to love on me and make me feel good," she said.

The couple isn't letting endometriosis stop or slow down their romantic time together as they have learned ways around it.

"There's so much intimacy without actually having sex. There are some cool things we've learned and it's literally been awesome," she admits.

Instead of letting something like endometriosis take control of her life, she chose to listen to her body and what it was telling her.

"You have two choices: You can hate it, or it can just become part of you. It doesn't need to define you, it's just an aspect of who you are," she said, adding how her body is "very precious" to her. "I didn't think of it that way before. If I don't feel like working out that day, then I don't do it. If I want to sleep in, then I will."

That doesn't mean she chooses to be lazy on the days she doesn't feel like being active, it's quite the opposite.


"If I feel stagnant, then my body's stagnant, and then my insides feel stagnant," the dancer said. "Even if I don't want to move or exercise, I just stand with my hands on my abdomen, move my hips, and send love to my pelvic area."

Photo credit: Getty Images