You may be familiar with Padma Lakshmi from her role as host of Top Chef. Model, actress, cookbook author, and mother, Padma is giving us one more reason to love her. Padma is raising awareness for endometriosis by speaking up about her struggle to have a child.

Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial cells, the cells that line the inside of the uterus, grow outside of the uterus. These cells can grow in the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, or on surrounding organs. The endometrial cells behave as they would if they were inside the uterus, swelling and bleeding according to the woman’s menstrual cycle.

There are several symptoms linked to endometriosis but most notable is the severe pain that some women experience. The primary symptom is pelvic pain, especially during a menstrual period. Displaced endometrial cells can cause scarring in the organs surrounding the uterus. Endometriosis can also lead to problems with fertility or pregnancy loss. One way this condition can affect fertility is if endometrial tissue obstructs the fallopian tubes.

Unfortunately, endometriosis can take years to diagnose. Most women are diagnosed after they find they have trouble conceiving. In this case, women will discuss various treatments for endometriosis with their doctor while keeping the possible need for fertility treatments in mind. Padma spent many years suffering from symptoms before being diagnosed in her thirties. She now collaborates with the Endometriosis Foundation of America to educate young women about endometriosis.

Endo Warriors is another organization dedicated to supporting women who are living with endometriosis- at any stage of their journey. On their site, women can find more information about the disease and a space to share what inspires their warrior strength!

Since March is Endometeriosis Awareness Month, please make it an opportunity to educate yourself on this condition. If you at all suspect you have it, please speak to your doctor.