Finding Strength

Elle India|April 2020

Finding Strength
From years of living with chronic period pain to bouts of anxiety, actor and musician Shruti Haasan talks about dealing with PCOS and tapping into her feminine energy
MAMTA MODY

My first period completely changed my life. From being the girl who couldn’t wait to be part of the cool older girl club, I became the girl who spent days doubled up in agony. Very early on, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and dysmenorrhea—both debilitating conditions affecting the uterus and other reproductive organs—and the chronic pain that comes with it is hard to overstate. It was embarrassing when my principal had to call my parents to take me home from school every few weeks because I was so unwell. In many ways, I was lucky to be in a school with friends who were empathetic; everyone—guys and girls—knew that I was having a rough day and would help me out. My best friend, Neha would often bake cookies for me the next day. There was no stigma around discussing periods at home either. So from day one I’ve never had to hide it from anyone, and that by itself was a big step for a girl in a country where sanitary napkins are still wrapped in newspaper, like it’s illegal.

“It wasn’t comfortable, it wasn’t pretty, THERE WAS NO GREAT TAKEAWAY FROM IT, and it felt like battling through a DENSE FOREST ALL BY MYSELF”

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April 2020