Padma Lakshmi & Lena Dunham Take The Fight For Endometriosis Cure To Capitol Hill

Photo: J. Countess/Getty Images.
Padma Lakshmi, Lena Dunham, Susan Sarandon, and Whoopi Goldberg share more in common than fame and fortune. All four women are battling endometriosis. The harrowing disorder, which happens when a woman's uterine lining grows outside of the uterus, affects about 1 in 10 women.

Now, CNBC is reporting that those notable women are uniting to take the battle to cure endometriosis to Capitol Hill. It's an effort to secure more federal funding for researching and diagnosing the disorder.

Each of these women have been impacted by endometriosis in different ways. Lakshmi's marriage to author Salman Rushdie ended when her doctor diagnosed her in 2007, when she was 36. She told CNBC that her disease had an impact on the relationship. Dunham announced in a Facebook post in February that she's skipping press for the final season of HBO's Girls in order to rest her body after fighting the disease.

Both of these women have also revealed that being diagnosed sooner would've saved them a lot of pain and heartache.

"If I had been diagnosed at 16, or 26, or even 32, I would have gained valuable time," Lakshmi told CNBC. "I would have been able to be more present for my family and friends...[had] a greater capacity to advance professionally, and I would have also had a greater capacity for intimacy."

However, endometriosis is difficult to diagnose. As Refinery29 reported, diagnosis requires a surgical laparoscopy procedure, which can be hard to secure from some doctors. The lack of access is connected to the lack of funding available, according to CNBC.

Currently, endometriosis receives less funding from the National Institutes of Health than teenage pregnancy and obesity, though it impacts more women, according to CNBC. Sarandon hopes that more women raising their voices will change that.

"It's one of those things that women don't talk about, and so anything you can do to help them come forward and find out and get diagnosed and get treatment before it turns into something really horrible I think is really important," she told CNBC.

It all starts with accurately diagnosing endometriosis and making sure women impacted by it receive proper care.

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