HT Brunch cover story: Vagina dialogues with Padma Lakshmi

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Padma Lakshmi has spent a good chunk of her life struggling with endometriosis, an acutely painful condition where tissue similar to the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus grows outside the uterine cavity.

Today, she spreads awareness about women’s reproductive health via the Endometriosis Foundation of America, which she co-founded in 2009.

In an interview with HT Brunch, the supermodel and celebrity chef had pointed out that even today, issues related to women’s sexual health are often brushed under the carpet.

“I suffered from endometriosis all my life and was never treated for it properly. I had five operations; two of them did not even scrape the surface of what was wrong,” she said. “When I got better and got to the other side and saw how normal women lived during their periods, it got me terribly angry. If I had had the same surgery that I had at 36 at 20, my life would have been so different. It made me realise that there is misogyny even in healthcare.”

“It is embarrassing to call work to say that I can’t come to office because I have my periods”

Most women’s health-related problems often go undiagnosed because of a lack of knowledge of symptoms. “If you tell them to someone they will think you have made them up,” she said. “Also, it is embarrassing to call work to say that I can’t come to office because I have my periods. The disease develops in tandem with womanhood and adolescence. So you end up getting a very warped up idea of your own femininity.”

She has often mentioned her condition and its impact on her sex life as a reason why her relationship with Salman Rushdie went south. He accused Lakshmi of using her endometriosis as an excuse not to have sex with him.

That comment was why Padma finally talked about her condition. “I couldn’t talk about endometriosis without talking about my own marriage in a frank way,” she had said in a TV interview.

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From HT Brunch, June 14, 2020

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