The Endometriosis Foundation of America (EndoFound) co-founded by Dr. Tamer Seckin and actor, writer, and producer Padma Lakshmi held a live online event on November 30, 2021, to announce the new “UpEndo Coalition”, the aim of which is to raise awareness about this debilitating disease, increase research funding, and create a bipartisan Congressional Endometriosis Caucus.
Seckin and Lakshmi attended the event that journalist, EndoTV producer and host, and EndoFound ambassador Diana Falzone moderated. Actor, producer and CEO, and EndoFound ambassador Corinne Foxx, model Alaia Baldwin, and actress, model, and entrepreneur Olivia Culpo also joined.
EndoFound co-founder Padma Lakshmi tells her story
The event started with Padma Lakshmi sharing her endometriosis story. Lakshmi told the viewer how she was in excruciating pain for a quarter of each month for 23 years. She said that the physical chronic pain caused by endometriosis is only part of the problem. The disease affects every aspect of a patient’s life including their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Lakshmi also touched on the cost of the disease on society at $78 billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs.
“When a woman is down everyone around her is down,” Lakshmi said.
She added that there are three ways in which we should address the disease. According to Lakshmi, these are:
- Research, and more money to support it
- Advocacy and awareness
- Insurance companies covering the cost of endometriosis surgery
Dr. Tamer Seckin’s insight
Dr. Seckin then took the floor. He talked about the first time he saw an endometriosis patient when he was doing his residency in medical school.
“After that, I never saw endo patients,” Seckin said.
He added that women who had period pain were considered to have STDs.
Dr. Seckin continued by saying that people are now aware of endometriosis. The main challenge now, according to Seckin is to standardize surgical techniques and methodologies to treat the disease.
He stressed the importance of early diagnosis and timely interventions.
“Surgical approaches become more radical if the disease is advanced,” Seckin said.
Keynote speech from Corinne Foxx
Corinne Foxx then gave her keynote speech.
“Similar to millions of other women, I thought periods are supposed to hurt,” Foxx said.
It was only when she was lying on the floor in pain that a friend of hers told her this was not normal.
After she finally received a diagnosis, the doctor didn’t give her any support or information about the disease Foxx recalls. She finally had a successful surgery with Dr. Seckin in October 2018 without risking her fertility.
She said that women and young girls should know that period pain that causes them not to be able to leave the house is not normal. She stressed the importance of seeking a second or even third opinion if doctors dismiss your symptoms as being normal.
A special message from Olivia Culpo
The session continued with a special message from Olivia Culpo who said:
“We all need to do what we can to increase endo awareness.” “Employers, doctors, school nurses, and elected officials should all work together.”
Anyone can join the UpEndo Coalition that aims to advance public policy to support endometriosis research and awareness.