Padma Lakshmi is an accomplished actress, author, jewelery designer and TV presenter. She is also a chronic sufferer of endometriosis – a condition whereby cells lining the womb grow outside of it potentially causing severe abdominal pain and fertility problems.
The condition is notorious for being misdiagnosed, as there is yet no easy non-invasive method to detect it, meaning many women end up suffering needlessly.
Following her own diagnosis, Padma Lakshmi found that many were not aware of the condition and made it her mission to speak out about endometriosis. She told People:
“It’s a very personal issue. It has to do with the most private aspect of a woman’s life, and when I had to have surgery, I had to miss work and explain why. I just found that in talking to people, not many people knew what it was.”
“I just thought,“ she continues, “I had a responsibility to let other young women know so they wouldn’t have to go through what I went though. If you get tested at an early age, it’s very simple to be treated for it and it will save you from a lifetime of pain and stress.”
The 39-year-old even went so far as to set up an organisation devoted to the cause. She co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America with Dr. Tamer Seckin, who told People that the condition is probably the most common reproductive health disease, but is also “the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mismanaged and mistreated. And women, because of that, end up being infertile and in chronic pain“.
It is thought that many women have endometriosis and do not suffer any symptoms. Later in life, they may find themselves unable to conceive. There are various treatments for the condition, including hormone therapy and pain killers, but often surgery to remove endometriosis cells is necessary to relieve symptoms and improve fertility. This is especially important for conception, as the cells often stray into neighbouring reproductive organs such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Padma Lakshmi was operated on and now claims to be fine, but says “it was a very trying ordeal“. The Top Chef host has managed to fall pregnant and gave birth to baby girl in February 2010. According to Popeater, a representative for the star described the pregnancy as “a medical miracle“.
However, Dr. Zhanna Fridel claims that although endometriosis can make conception more difficult, it does not cause competely infertility. NY Daily News interviewed the obstetrician and gynaecologist:
“If it is causing the fallopian tubes to be blocked, getting pregnant is a little more difficult than if it was in the ovaries,” she says. “Women who have endometriosis in the tubes may be advised to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization.”
“We are getting better at diagnosing it because we have a higher suspicion of it,” The specialist added.
Images: Wikimedia Commons and PR PhotosTags: baby pregnancy