Top Chef Host Padma Lakshmi announced yesterday that she is pregnant. This is her first pregnancy, having struggled with infertility problems due to endometriosis for many years. As Lakshmi told People magazine in April 2009: “I’m somebody who never knew I had this condition and always thought that everything was okay. I found out in a very hard,difficult way – and I had to be operated on. Now, I’m fine but it was a very trying ordeal.” Because of the difficulties she experienced, she co-founded the organization, The Endometriosis Foundation of America, to educate young women about the disease.
“It’s also the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mismanaged and mistreated. And women, because of that, end up being infertile and in chronic pain.””I just thought I had a responsibility to let other young women know so they wouldn’t have to go through what I went though,” she says. “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.”
Endometriosis is a disease where the tissue that makes up the lining of the uterus (womb) grows in other areas of the pelvis The most common sites for these growths are shown in the diagram below. Symptoms include pelvic pain, painful intercourse (dyspareunia), painful periods (dysmenorrhea), irregular, and heavier than normal menstrual bleeding. It is the endometrium that responds to female hormones over the course of a woman’s monthly cycle – first swelling and thickening, and later being sloughed during the menstrual period. The endometriosis implants also respond to these hormones, however, the cells do not get eliminated. They can cause a small amount of bleeding, which irritates local tissues, and can lead to scarring. It is this scarring that can lead to one of the main complications of endometriosis – infertility. Endoscopic surgery to remove endometriosis may restore fertility if the disease is cause early before too much scarring has occurred.
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