24-year-old Australian swimmer Maddie Groves revealed today via Instagram that she has undergone surgery to address ongoing health issues that have plagued the star in recent years.
Groves, who took Olympic silver in the women’s 200m fly in Rio, suffers from adenomyosis, which WebMD describes as a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium). She also suffers from endometriosis, in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. (Mayo Clinic).
Both conditions cause pain and cramping, which Groves told The Sydney Morning Herald, “actually feels like you are being stabbed in the uterus and someone is very slowly twisting that knife. That’s literally what it feels like.”
SMH reports that Groves had an abnormal lesion on her cervix, which turned out to be precancerous.
“I had some scans and a pap smear, which then showed I had a pre-cancerous lesion on my cervix,” she told SMH. “The recommendation was to wait another year and check again, but my gynaecologist said ‘this needs to come out’.
“I’m so lucky because when he did, when they had a better look, it actually had cells of a CIN-3, which is a higher grade. If I had waited another year, I could have developed cervical cancer.”
Groves’ Instagram post read, “Snuk in a cheeky op after they announced the Olympics were postponed and before non-urgent elective surgeries were cancelled. I’m glad I did because my adenomyosis has worsened 😩
“Most pools are closed indefinitely so I’ll be using this swimming shut down to spend the next 6 months in medically induced menopause 👵🏼 that will hopefully reduce my adenomyosis.”
Keeping things in perspective, she said “It sucks to be away from training and my squad but I’m grateful I’ve been able to focus on my health because the reality for a lot of people (including women with endo/adeno) is that now getting treatment and surgery has become more difficult as resources are directed to deal with this pandemic.
Let’s all keep doing the right things and look after each other during this time so we can stay safe and return to normal ASAP 👐🏼”
Groves also underwent surgery back in 2017, which rendered her out of that year’s Queensland Championships.
Fellow Aussie Olympic teammate Emily Seebohm also suffers from endometriosis, having undergone surgery herself in 2016.
Last year Groves made the move from training under Michael Bohl at Griffith University to training under Damien Jones at Rackley. In the SMH article, the paper notes she is now under David Lush at Brisbane Grammar. We’ve reached out to both Groves and Lush.