Endometriosis sufferer Mel Greig looks to surrogate to have baby

Mel Greig and her husband Steve.
Mel Greig and her husband Steve. Photo: Instagram

Mel Greig is in "crippling" pain.

On Tuesday, the former radio host revealed that worsening endometriosis means she is unlikely to be able to have children.

"To be honest I probably will need a surrogate in the end but we're going to give it a go," said the 33-year-old, who has been trying unsuccessfully to fall pregnant naturally and who has recently completed her first cycle of IVF.

Greig has been open about her IVF experience, sharing photos to help lessen the stigma around it.
Greig has been open about her IVF experience, sharing photos to help lessen the stigma around it. Photo: Instagram

She has had the condition since she was 17 and revealed she will also undergo surgery to remove her uterus.

"My endometriosis is really bad … it's getting worse," said Greig, who married her long-term partner Steve last year.

"They said I need a hysterectomy."

Endometriosis is when the tissue found in the uterus spreads to other organs (typically the ovaries and outside the uterus, but it can also spread to the bladder, bowels, lungs and even the brain) causing inflammation, pain and in some cases, infertility.

"To put it simply, it's basically big round balls and small dots that cause a shitload of pain for women, often crippling them," Greig has said previously.

It affects about one in 10 Australian women and can occur from the time a girl has her first period.


"The majority of women with endometriosis won't have trouble falling pregnant," says Dr Erin Nesbitt-Hawes, an obstetrician and associate lecturer at the University of NSW.

Endometriosis does not make for a difficult pregnancy, Nesbitt-Hawes adds.

"Many of the symptoms settle down while they're pregnant."

Why it makes some women, like Greig, infertile remains a mystery.

"It's usually compounded by other factors – they're older and have endometriosis, for instance," Nesbitt-Hawes says.

Although Greig may undergo a hysterectomy, it does not actually cure endometriosis.

Donna Ciccia, co-founder of Endometriosis Australia, says that typically a hysterectomy will be recommended if adenomyosis, where the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus, is present.

"It is the ugly cousin of endometriosis," Ciccia says.

For endometriosis sufferers, there is no cure, only treatments to alleviate the pain.

"A lot of women find a multifactorial approach helpful," says Nesbitt-Hawes, who adds that the cause is unknown but may be genetics, hormonal, an immune problem, or a combination of the three. 

Oral contraception can help balance hormones; physiotherapy, acupuncture and osteopathy can help with the spasms that it can bring; a healthy diet can help relieve bloating and bowel discomfort while psychological help or meditation can be helpful for emotionally dealing with chronic pain.

There is also the option of surgery; a laparoscopy to remove damaged tissue.  

"There's a one in three chance the endometriosis can reoccur," Nesbitt-Hawes says of those who have surgery.

"There's definitely a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of ongoing research to unravel the enigma."

Ciccia adds that everyone's experience of endometriosis is different. Some people can have a relatively mild case of endometriosis and be bedridden, while others have extensive endometriosis and minimal symptoms.

Greig, who has stage 4 endometriosis, has tried hot water bottles, chocolate ... and surgery.

She is yet to find relief.

"I feel every ounce of pain my endo brings every month. I go into self-lockdown for 24 hours at the start of each cycle; I can't move, every step I take I'm in severe pain," said Greig, who stars in the upcoming Celebrity Apprentice.

She hopes her experience will help people to discuss it and get help more readily.

"I am thrilled to have been appointed an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia – this is now a lifelong mission for me to raise awareness of this horrible disease and especially in young women who might not understand the symptoms until it's too late," she said. 

"We all normally get some level of pain during our cycle, but if yours is unbearable that's not normal. Get checked."