Sathyabhama Ganesan, 50, has had trouble with her period since giving birth to her daughter two decades ago. But matters worsened in 2010. She would bleed heavily, and her stomach would clench so tightly that medicines couldn’t really ease her pain. When her period would arrive, 15 days or 25 days or 35 days after her previous cycle, she would lie crumpled on her bed for days at home in Trichy, Tamil Nadu.

“For two days every month, I couldn’t do anything,” she recalled in Tamil. “I would have to lie down. When my daughter was younger, I’d grit my teeth and try to care for her.”

Two doctors advised Ganeshan to remove her uterus in a procedure called a hysterectomy.


Gayathri Vaidyanathan

Gayathri writes on health, environment and science. She has reported and produced stories for the Washington Post, Discover, Nature, and the New York Times, amongst other publications. In her last assignment, she was the lead science writer for E&E News in Washington, D.C. E&E News is a news organisation focused on energy and the environment. Over the past decade, Gayathri has travelled across North America, Africa and Asia on long-form reporting projects. She has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor's in biochemistry from McMaster University in Ontario. At The Ken, Gayathri will write on healthcare, the pharmaceutical business and the environment. Based in Bengaluru, you can reach her at gayathri at the rate

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