Invisible Illness

Millions of women who look perfectly healthy on the outside are grappling with chronic conditions that make normal life anything but. They have what’s been dubbed an invisible illness, because their struggles go unseen. Here are their stories.

Most Recent

I Hid My Genetic Disorder for Years—Until Doctors Found a Golf Ball-Size Cyst in My Lung

All her life, Harper Spero, 35, has been living with a rare, incurable syndrome that affects her immune system. But it wasn't until she underwent life-threatening surgery in her late 20s that she began facing the challenges of this invisible illness.
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Living With Sickle Cell Disease Is a Constant Battle With Pain, According to One Woman Who Has It

People always tell Danielle Jamison, 35, that she "doesn't look sick." But the genetic blood disorder she's battled since childhood makes day-to-day life a challenge.
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Post-Concussion Syndrome Makes It Hard for Me to Function—Here's What It's Like

After an accidental hit to the head, Kate Anderson, 37, was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury, which led to post-concussion syndrome. A year later, day-to-day life with this isolating disorder remains a challenge.
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I'm a 22-Year-Old With Fibromyalgia—and Some Days I Wish I Could Detach Myself From My Body

After years of debilitating pain, Bel Banta was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder that's not well understood by doctors. Here, she shares what it's like to be 22 years old and living with episodes of chronic pain few people are aware of.
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More Invisible Illness

Millions of Women are Living With 'Invisible Illnesses': Here's What That Means

Millions of women who look perfectly healthy on the outside are grappling with chronic conditions that make “normal” life anything but. This is what it’s really like to have an invisible illness.
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I Survived Thyroid Cancer—but Dealing With the Side Effects Has Been Harder Than I Ever Imagined

Writer Christine Coppa had her thyroid removed because of cancer. Here, she explains what life is like without this important gland, her struggle with weight gain and mood changes, and what she wants others to know about surviving the big C.
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Everyone Thinks I'm the Picture of Health—but Every Day I Struggle With Ulcerative Colitis

After she was diagnosed with this inflammatory bowel disease, Holly Schmidt had to adjust to her new normal of battling an invisible illness. Here's what that means, and what daily life is like.