The Top Chef host, 44, reveals her symptoms included bloating, cramping, excessive bleeding and severe abdominal pain — but it was something no one really spoke about.
“It’s embarrassing,” she admits. “It’s something that is deeply private and personal.”
It wasn’t until she was 36 that Dr. Tamer Seckin identified her symptoms as endometriosis — which occurs when the uterine lining cannot be expelled with a woman’s period and grows outside the uterus — and performed surgery to remove the excess tissue. From there, Lakshmi partnered with Dr. Seckin to found the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
“I wanted to raise awareness so that no young girl has to wonder what is wrong with her like I did for so many years,” she says. That’s why the EFA — thanks to the support of New York State Senator Jeff Klein — recently launched theThe ENPOWR Project, which focuses on education programs to help young girls learn to recognize the symptoms of endometriosis.
After she was diagnosed, there were other hurdles for Lakshmi. “I was told I would never have children naturally, that I only had a 10 to 15 percent of having them in vitro,” she recalls. “When you’re staring down the barrel of your 40th birthday and you hear that you can’t have kids because this disease went unchecked and undiagnosed for so many years, it’s devastating.”
That is why she calls the birth of her daughter, Krishna, in 2010, “a miracle.” She says, “I’m so lucky to have her. Her middle name is Thea, which means ‘gift from God.’ ”
Recently, the proud mom says, “she was separating the coins from her piggybank and she said, ‘Mommy, you can have my money for your charity.’ She knows that Mom has a charity for women with ‘tummy aches.’ She wants to help.”
For more of our interview with Padma Lakshmi, pick up the latest issue ofPEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Padma Lakshmi on What Women Need to Know About Endometriosis
The View guest co-host Padma Lakshmi told her personal story about being diagnosed with Endometriosis on the Friday February 20th, 2015 episode of The View. This prognosis is one that leads a lot…
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Padma Lakshmi’s Personal Cause: The Endometriosis Foundation of America
Endometriosis effectively exiled Padma Lakshmi from her life, one week a month, every year, for over 20 years. She’s a college-educated, professional woman living in a major city with access…
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