Whoopi Goldberg Shares Details of Her Endometriosis Battle: 'I Didn’t Know What Was Going On'

'The View' co-host said she “doesn’t understand” how it can take several years for women to receive a diagnosis for endometriosis

<p>Michael Loccisano/Getty</p> Whoopi Goldberg

Michael Loccisano/Getty

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg was an open book discussing her endometriosis journey on  The View.

On Wednesday’s episode of the talk show, Hillary Clinton joined as a guest and spoke about being an executive producer of Below the Belt, a documentary aimed at raising awareness about endometriosis, the reproductive condition in which uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, causing cramping and chronic pain.

During the conversation, Goldberg, 67, expressed her frustration with how many women are often diagnosed with the painful condition after living with symptoms for several years.

“It drives me berserk that we are still constantly having to beg for health care,” she said. “We pay taxes. Women pay taxes. I don’t understand why when doctors go to school forever, they’re not taught about a woman’s body. And then you have all of these people making these comments and you know [they] have no idea how this works.”

The co-host then discussed her own experience learning she had endometriosis.

“For me, I had it once. And I was lucky enough because I had a urinary tract infection that I did not take care of. Note to people: don’t let that stuff go. Because stuff happens in your body and I ended up with what looked like — and I don’t mean to gross you out — but suddenly there was a smell and it looked like cottage cheese and I didn’t know what was going on,” Goldberg explained. “And I was lucky enough to get to somebody who said, ‘This is called endometriosis’ and they were able to treat me with antibiotics. But that’s because somebody knew what they were looking at.”

She continued, “When I saw this documentary and I heard that it takes them 6-10 years to even get the diagnosis, I don’t understand that! What are they doing in medical school!?”

Related: 18 Celebrities Who Are Spreading the Word About the Pain of Endometriosis

Dia Dipasupil/Getty Whoopi Goldberg
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Whoopi Goldberg

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Endometriosis is very common — with estimates that 10% of women can be diagnosed with it. However, the condition is often missed.

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a board-certified OB/GYN at Yale University School of Medicine and member of the PEOPLE Health squad, previously told PEOPLE that this is because endometriosis is not always “obvious” to doctors.

“You may not feel any masses in the pelvis when you examine a woman. An ultrasound may not show it either,” she explained. “Sometimes you need to go into the belly and look with diagnostic laparoscopy. And the amount of pain women have does not correlate exactly with the amount of disease they have.”

Goldberg joins a list of celebrities who have talked openly about their experiences with endometriosis. Bindi Irwin, Lena Dunham, Halsey, Julianne Hough, Amy Schumer and Padma Lakshmi have also shared their struggles in the past.

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