Lena Dunham shares empowering message from her hospital bed

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Kayleigh Dray
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Lena Dunham walked the red carpet at the Met Gala in New York City earlier this week, but was later unexpectedly forced to leave the event due to medical complications from her endometriosis.

The actor and writer has since taken to Instagram to update fans on her condition, sharing a selfie from her hospital bed.

Captioning the snap, Dunham wrote: “Thank you for all the love and concern that's been pouring in since Tuesday. Although I'm much healthier than I was a year ago, complications arose from my most recent endometriosis surgery.”

She continued: “When the healthcare of so many American women, especially our trans sisters, is at-risk – or already non-existent – I am lucky to be in the position to seek help when I'm in pain.

“To those in that privileged spot – never forget that we are blessed and can pay it forward by supporting Planned Parenthood and LGBTQ clinics like Callen-Lorde with our [money] and [time].”

Dunham went on to directly address women suffering from ongoing conditions all over the world, telling them: “I also want to remind all the women suffering from chronic illness that we aren't weak – quite the opposite, actually.

“We do our jobs with skill even when we're struggling. We care families even when we can hardly care for ourselves. [And] we serve major face on a red carpet when we feel like lying face down would be more appropriate.”

The Girls creator finished by saying: “I'll always be proud of those Met Gala pics – not just because I felt beautiful, surrounded by art and magic, hugging my best friend tightly, but because they're evidence that women contain steely multitudes.

“Just that morning Diana Falzone sued Fox after they took her off air for disclosing her endometriosis. But they're the ones who lost when they fired her, because everyone who's anyone knows that if you can battle chronic illness there's nothing you can't take on.”

Last month, Dunham – who previously recorded a podcast about her condition from her hospital bed – revealed that she had undergone surgery for the fifth time.

“My surgery went off without a hitch,” she wrote in her e-newsletter, Lenny Letter. “When I emerged, cotton-mouthed, [Dr. Randy Harris] told me something I hadn't expected to hear, maybe ever: there was no endometriosis left. Between my surgeries and hormonal intervention, I was disease-free.

“That doesn't mean it can never return, but for now, once my sutures have been removed and my bruises have changed from blue to yellow to green to gone, I will be healthy.”

Endometriosis, according to the NHS, is a common condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb (endometrium) is found in other parts of the body. 

Symptoms vary from person to person, but can include:

  • Painful periods that cannot be relieved with painkillers
  • Heavy periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during and after sex
  • Pain or discomfort when going to the toilet
  • Blood in your stools
  • Feeling tired all the time

It's a long-term condition that can have a significant impact on your life, but there are treatments that can help. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, visit your GP – and, if possible, try to fill in a pain and symptoms diary (PDF, 238kb) beforehand, as it may help with diagnosis.

For more information, advice or support, visit the Endometriosis UK website now.

Images; Instagram / Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.