People

Lena Dunham has penned a powerful essay about her hysterectomy

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published

Lena Dunham has confirmed that she has had a full hysterectomy, in the hopes of ending her endometriosis-related pain.

Lena Dunham has always been willing to talk about her struggles with endometriosis, in order to raise awareness about the chronic and debilitating women’s health condition.

Now, the Girls star has confirmed that she has had a total hysterectomy after “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits” and countless unsuccessful attempts to manage her symptoms using “pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, colour therapy [and] acupuncture.” 

Writing in Vogue, Dunham explains that, during her hysterectomy, doctors discovered that she had other medical issues that were causing her pain.

“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,” she writes.

“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.”

Dunham adds that she is now exploring what choices she has ahead of her in regards to motherhood.

“I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now. 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.”

Endometriosis is “the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body,” explains Endometriosis UK.

“Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.”

The condition can cause painful and/or heavy periods, as well as fatigue, bowel issues, bladder problems, depression and infertility.

Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, and can have a significant impact on their life in a number or ways.

However, with the right endometriosis treatment, many of these issues can be addressed, and the symptoms of endometriosis made more manageable.

Image: Rex Features

Topics

Share this article

Author

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

Other people read

More from People

More from Kayleigh Dray