Padma Lakshmi Turns Health Ordeal into Awareness

Padma Lakshmi Turns Health Ordeal into Awareness

Padma Lakshmi is turning a personal medical drama into a form of social outreach. 

Padma Lakshmi is turning a personal medical drama into a form of social outreach.

The Top Chef host, 38, has started foundation to raise awareness about endometriosis – a condition affecting women’s reproductive health – after her own experience of having a successful operation and making a full recovery.

“I’m somebody who never knew I had this condition and always thought that everything was okay,” says Lakshmi. “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.”

A common condition, endometriosis is a problem that occurs when tissues that line the uterus grow outside the uterus, resulting in painful menstrual cycles and uterine scarring that could lead to infertility. With surgery, endometriosis can be treated easily – but it must be detected first.

‘Why I Spoke Out’

“It’s probably the most prevalent disease” affecting reproductive health, explains Dr. Tamer Seckin, who treated Lakshmi and with her also co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America. “It’s also the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed, mismanaged and mistreated. And women, because of that, end up being infertile and in chronic pain.”

Joining forces to create awareness was especially important for Lakshmi, she says, though she would have to come forward about something so intimate.

“It’s a very personal issue,” she says. “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 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.”

Time for a Ball

Together, Seckin and Lakshmi will host the “Blossom Ball,” their first fundraising event, on April 20 at New York’s Prince George Ballroom – and they’ve recruited a starry panel of women to serve on the honorary committee, including 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski and Helena Christensen.

Explaining the event’s name, Lakshmi, who says she likes to think of their new organization as the “Healthy Womb Society,” says, “when [Dr. Seckin] explained the illness to me, he said it’s like roots in a garden and the roots can spread everywhere. If you don’t [treat it], it will ruin the whole flower bed.”

//www.people.com/people/article/0,,20272655,00.html

Patient Reviews

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  • Winnie Chan

    I’ve seen many obgyns over the years explaining my monthly symptoms during my period...but eventually it became a daily struggle with these pain. It feels like a poke here and there near my right pelvic region. I was given birth control pills for the past ten years but honestly, it didn’t help at all. I was in bed whenever I…

  • Rachel Grobman

    Dr.Seckin is so much more than a surgeon. His passion for helping endometriosis sufferers and determination to improve the quality of life in all of his patients is undeniable. I remember when my gynecologist first told me I needed a laparoscopy. Her exact words were "I can do the surgery, but if you were MY daughter- I'd send you to…

  • Esin Kocabiyik

    I was there for hysterectomy but then I found out that I also had endometriosis.My both surgeries went excellent and I feel great!.I am so thankful to Dr.Seckin and all his team for making my journey smooth!

  • Samuel Taveras

  • Rena Ebrahim

  • nikoletta pados

    I am a physician who suffered from deep infiltrative endometriosis. I needed laparoscopic surgery, so I went to see my former gynaecologist and he performed the procedure (a surgery which he supposedly does hundreds of times a year) last November. I had severe pain again when I had my period in January and was advised to go on taking a…

  • Grace Larsen

    After years of excessively painful periods, a serious loss of quality of life, and a series of uninformed and uninterested doctors, Dr. Seckin and Dr. Goldstein turned my life around. I was told I woke up from my surgery almost a year ago with a smile on my face, and I haven't stopped since. Before I heard of Dr. Seckin,…

  • Nicole Novakowski

  • Jacqueline Galindo

    Dr Seckin and his team gave me back my life! Tomorrow will be 1 month since my surgery and I feel great. Dr. Seckin, Dr Liu, and Dr Goldstein are not only beyond words talented and amazing Doctors, but they are also genuinely wonderful and caring people. I cannot say enough great things about Holly, Asiye and Kim as well.…

  • Anna Lu

    Dr. Seckin and his staff spared me from years and years of heavy periods and unbearable endometriosis pain. After having surgery with him (my first) I can now function like a regular human. No more eating NSAIDs like candy and calling out sick from work. Thank you, Dr. Seckin!