Endometriosis Gives Dolly Parton’s Life an Unexpected Turn

by

Riley Johnson

Updated

March 21, 2024

Updated

March 21, 2024

Updated

March 21, 2024

77-year-old Dolly Parton has had her share of storms, including her battle with endometriosis. From someone who used to sing on her front porch to becoming one of the most celebrated artists of all time in the country music establishment, Parton’s life took an unexpected turn due to her health.

Dolly Parton falls to illness: What happened? 


In 1984, Dolly Parton’s illness worsened, leading to her collapse on an Indianapolis stage after she ignored the doctor’s order to forgo performing. Despite her massive success with the hit song “9 to 5” and a film debut, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” she was diagnosed with endometriosis in 1985, leading to the country singer’s partial hysterectomy. The procedure entails removing part of the cervix and the uterus that usually causes infertility. 

In a book she penned in 2017, “Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, she detailed what she went through when her health started deteriorating and confessed, “I wasn’t conscious of nutrition, I wasn’t taking care of myself…I was working hard, and underneath I was a pile of personal and emotional problems. All at once, I fell apart. It was stomach problems and female problems—all over health problems, actually.” She was just 35. 

Endometriosis and its impact on the Jolene Singer


Endometriosis happens when tissue similar to the womb’s lining begins to grow where it’s not supposed to like in the Fallopian tubes or ovaries. For some women, symptoms aren’t noticeable, but for some, like the songstress, the condition can be exhausting. Pain in the back and lower stomach, constipation, diarrhea, and difficulty in getting pregnant are the most pressing realities. 

Although she hasn’t discussed the details of her operation, she did admit that this led her to severe depression, and even thought of taking her own life. The news of not being able to have her own children naturally was too much of a struggle. “Suddenly, I was a middle-aged woman. I went through a dark time until I made myself snap out of it,” she expressed.


Despite this, however, the country singer and her husband of 57 years, Carl Dean, are happy with their lives. 

Genuinely caring for children and families, Parton continues in her philanthropic work through the Dollywood Foundation, founded in 1995, collaborating with other nonprofits like My People Fund, the Herschden Brothers, and others. 

Even if she wasn’t a mother in the biological sense, she dedicated her life to children and families through her charity work, recognizing that everyone deserves a new and second chance. 


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