Anoushka Shankar: ‘I No Longer Have a Uterus’ and There’s No Shame

Grammy Nominated musician Anoushka Shankar speaks about her hysterectomy in a powerful letter

2 min read

Sitar player and Grammy-nominated composer Anoushka Shankar has penned a powerful letter about coping with a surgery that took away her ‘lady parts’.

I’ve had a hysterectomy and there’s nothing to be discreet about
Anoushka Shankar, Musician

In the letter, the Indian classical player poignantly narrates the struggles her body had to go through.

She talks about the migraines and bleeding she suffered through motherhood; the detection of multiple fibroids and the subsequent hysterectomy which, she says, made her less confident about her womanliness.

Shankar also notes how she was conditioned to hide her bodily struggles. But now, she has decided to speak her truth and in the process, shed light about hysterectomy, a procedure which is a reality in many women’s lives.

Causes of Hysterectomy

In an earlier article, FIT had explained the most common reasons why hysterectomies are done. These include:

  • Ovarian, Uterine and Cervical Cancer: In such cases the entire uterus, cervix and lymph nodes are removed.
  • Endometriosis: It’s a painful condition where some tissues that should be growing inside the uterus, start to grow outside – sometimes on the bladder, on bowls - making pain unbearable, especially during their period.
  • Fibroids: Non malignant growth on the uterus

Hysterectomy as an option is presented by doctors largely when the woman has passed the child bearing age. Most doctors are reluctant to remove uterus in women between the age of 20 to 40.

In Anoushka’s case, the hysterectomy had become especially important considering her multiple fibroids. But now, Anoushka’s experience is serving as a source of strength for others.

Anoushka’s Courage Inspires Other Women

Just below Anoushka’s tweet, a woman notes: “I’m 35, have no children and am awaiting the same procedure for exactly the same reason. It’s hard to explain how it makes me feel. So thank you for your perspective.”

Another writes, “Thanks for sharing. It gave me immense strength.”

While yet another writes, “I too was torn apart and being so clueless I didn't know what to do when my mom was diagnosed with first stage cervix cancer & had to go through hysterectomy. My mom wouldn't talk to me about it.”

As one comment notes, “As the parent of two daughters, I hope they can grow up in a world with less shame. Sharing stories like this can only help make the world a more accepting and open place.”

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