Culumi Nakada is a 25-year-old model, actress, and DJ from Japan. She's appeared in publications such as Ginza and Nylon.
Last May, she wrote a blog titled, "Every Girl Should Read This. I Beg You."
In it, Nakada included a photo of her swollen stomach and explained the story behind it.
She told BuzzFeed News that around New Years 2015, she was having an acupuncture session when someone pointed out that her stomach was looking big.
"I was already self-conscious. I even went to the gym, but my stomach wasn’t going down," she said. "I'm such a fatty. I spoke to those around me as if to make fun of myself. Maybe I had eaten too much during the New Year festivities."
Nakada thought it could be gastroptosis, but when she went to get that checked out, she was told to see a gynecologist immediately.
"My periods were irregular, so I’d been seeing a gynecologist since I was in high school. However, I had never had an ultrasound. I figured I needed to go get checked properly.”
She was diagnosed with endometriosis and ovarian cysts. Her ovaries had swelled to 13 centimeters.
In her blog, which she wrote before having surgery, Nakada begged women to get checked out regularly to avoid her situation.
The post received hundreds of comments from readers, who praised Nakada for her openness — and shared their own stories of endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
Nakada said that the experience made her realize how common it is for women to have issues with their ovaries, but how little it is spoken about. "It’s such a common disease that 1 in 10 girls will experience it. If you have 30 friends, 3 of them may have the same issue.”
She also explained why, as someone in the public eye, she decided to open up about her private life via her blog post.
“Revealing personal details to the public is a given. There are countless other models and actresses, so I sometimes think, ‘Even if I die, there will be a replacement (laughs).’ Even so, I feel that I am who I am now because I shared details about my personal life like I did. Diseases are no good, but it’s also no good to keep things bottled up. If there’s something you want to do, it’s best if you say so. If there’s something you want to get rid of, it’s best if you cut it out.”
Luckily, her surgery went well and she was told it would have no effect on her ability to have children. She was out of the hospital five days after her operation.
Now, Nakada wants to encourage other women to approach their physical health the same way they approach beauty.
“Girls are often said to buy cosmetics and beauty products in order to look cute, right? However, beauty means nothing without health," she said. "They’ll go to a beauty salon, but they won’t go for a comprehensive medical checkup. Even though they are the same price.”
“People often talk about what age they want to have children by. But that conversation is based on the assumption that you can have children," she said. "Even though pregnancy is no simple matter, you may never be aware of that fact if you live your life 'normally.' That’s what I realized.”
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Yui Kashima at Yui.Kashima@buzzfeed.com.
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