Last month, Olivia Culpo revealed on her Instagram Story that she suffers from endometriosis, an often painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
"It was something that I was nervous to share because I really didn't know if people would be familiar with the condition, and it turns out a lot of women are," the Sports Illustrated model, 28, told PEOPLE. "I was shocked to see how many women have also suffered from endometriosis, and how many questions women have about painful periods. They're not normal, and they could get in the way of your fertility."
Culpo, who has teamed up with Crest Whitening Emulsions leave-on teeth whitening treatment, got diagnosed with endometriosis last year and acknowledges that the disorder can be "very difficult" to identify.
"A lot of women may have painful periods, they may not be properly diagnosed. They may never be diagnosed. They may not be getting proper treatment, or surgery in some cases," she says. "And then, they're 50, 40 years old, and they had never been able to have children, and then you realize, 'Oh, maybe I had had endometriosis that I was never properly diagnosed.' That's a common problem that I want to be able to use my platform to help."
The former Miss Universe wants to "make sure women are doing their due diligence and getting their egg count checked, making sure that if they do have painful periods, that it's not something that's affecting their ovaries or their egg," she continues. "Down the line, it's so heartbreaking when you think about someone who maybe could have taken action earlier, and now they can't have children. That to me just feels awful."
The Rhode Island native says she doesn't plan to consider laparoscopic surgery, which can treat endometriosis, just yet, since, "I'm trying to do the holistic route as of now."
"I want to try to see if I can figure some things out for myself, but we'll see. It's a journey," Culpo adds. "Every month is different because I try different things every month. But I'll definitely keep everybody posted on what works for me, and eventually having to get the surgery because it really depends. Everyone's different."
Culpo has been using her increased time at home to switch up her self-care routine, which includes applying Crest Whitening Emulsions up to four times a day.
"I've really been loving celery juice every morning. I find it to be very cleansing," says the Paradise City actress, who showed beauty guru Patrick Starr how to create her signature bronzed, dewy look, starting with a bright white smile. "I think it's great for the skin, very hydrating."
She continues, "Also, meditation is something that we all know is great for us, but it's hard to carve out that time. But that's another trick that I've been trying to develop more and create a real habit."
Culpo additionally enjoys doing home workouts like The Pilates Class, Melissa Wood Health and Peter Mollo Fitness on demand.
Ultimately, the social media influencer realizes that a balanced approach to health and wellness means "not being really hard on yourself."
"I do believe that beauty starts within," she says. "Making sure that first and foremost, you're taking care of yourself and part of being your best and showing up as your best is trying not to focus so much on things that may seem so vapid and frivolous. That's really where I try to focus my energy, because otherwise, you can never win. No one's perfect, and you should never try to be perfect."
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