Lena Dunham had a hysterectomy to relieve her endometriosis pain
Lena Dunham has always been open about her struggle with endometriosis, but now she’s managed to put an end to it for once and for all. In an article she penned for Vogue‘s March 2018 issue, Dunham revealed she had a hysterectomy to treat the condition, and her words are so important for anyone who’s had to cope with endometriosis or another invisible illness like it.
In the article, Dunham opens up about how difficult it was to even get a hysterectomy at 31, including all of the things that had to happen before she could go under the knife. After undergoing several different types of physical therapy, she realized that the pain from her endometriosis had finally gotten so bad that she needed to make a radical decision.
“Two days later (which has always been my definition of “wait and see”; I am not a patient girl) I check myself into the hospital and announce I am not leaving until they stop this pain or take my uterus,” she wrote. “No, really, take her.”
But that was only the beginning of the process. She had to write an essay for her doctor to prove that she was 100% sure that she wanted to have her uterus removed, see her own therapist, and talk to a therapist her doctor recommended.
Finally, they allowed her to have the surgery, and once the doctors were able to fully see her uterus, they realized she’d been right about how bad her condition had become. She wrote in Vogue:
"In addition to endometrial disease, an odd hump-like protrusion, and a septum running down the middle, I have had 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."
Fortunately, Dunham seems to be doing well today, and her scars have healed.
Emotionally, though? That’s another story. Now, she is trying to adjust to life without a uterus and without the prospect of ever being pregnant in the future. She wrote,
"Because I had to work so hard to have my pain acknowledged, there was no time to feel fear or grief. To say goodbye. I made a choice that never was a choice for me, yet mourning feels like a luxury I don’t have."
However, even though Dunham may not be able to carry a child, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still plan to have children someday. “Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might,” she explained. “But I wanted that stomach. I wanted to know what nine months of complete togetherness could feel like.”
Having to make the decision to get a hysterectomy at such a young age couldn’t have been easy — but then again, neither is battling with a disease like endometriosis and everything that comes with it. Good for Dunham for taking control of her health and fighting for the care she deserves.