“Girls” creator-star Lena Dunham, who long has suffered from the uterine disorder endometriosis, says that she has undergone a full hysterectomy in order to end her chronic pain.
In an essay in the new issue of Vogue magazine, the 31-year-old New York native explains she elected to have the procedure after “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits” as well as alternative treatments including “pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, color therapy, [and] acupuncture.”
In endometriosis, tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside it. Cysts, scarring, internal bleeding and organ adhesion can occur, causing pain and fertility problems.
Dunham learned after the surgery that, “In addition to endometrial disease, an odd hump-like protrusion and a septum running down the middle, I have retrograde bleeding, a.k.a. my period running in reverse so that my stomach is full of blood. My ovary has settled in on the muscles around the sacral nerves in my back that allow us to walk. Let’s please not even talk about my uterine lining. The only beautiful detail is that the organ — which is meant to be shaped like a light bulb — was shaped like a heart.”
The writer-actress first publicly revealed her endometriosis in a February 2016 Facebook message. This past April, in a note sent to subscribers of her Lenny Letter website, Dunham said that recent endometriosis-removal surgery had proceeded “without a hitch … there was no endometriosis left.” The condition can return, however, and a hysterectomy, in which the uterus is removed, is typically the next option.
Dunham, who is adapting the UK show “Camping” for an HBO series starring Jennifer Garner, said she would still like to have children. “Soon I’ll start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs. Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.”