Lena Dunham has had her uterus and cervix removed following a painful battle with endometriosis.
Writing in the March 2018 issue of US Vogue, the Girls creator said she made the decision to have a total hysterectomy after “years of complex surgeries”.
“In addition to endometrial disease, an odd hump-like protrusion and a septum running down the middle, I have retrograde bleeding, [AKA] my period running in reverse so that my stomach is full of blood,” she wrote in the piece, which has been excerpted on the website of the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
“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.”
Although the procedure has left her unable to fall pregnant, Dunham, who recently split from her partner Jack Antonoff, said she would be investigating whether her ovaries held any viable eggs, adding that adoption would be “a thrilling truth [she will] pursue with all [her] might”.
In April 2017, Dunham had told subscribers to her Lenny email newsletter she was finally “disease-free”, after undergoing five surgeries in 12 months.
However, a month later, Dunham was hospitalised while attending the Met Gala, later sharing on Instagram that she had suffered complications following her most recent surgery.
“I… want to remind all the women suffering from chronic illness that we aren’t weak – quite the opposite, actually,” Dunham wrote on Instagram at the time.
“We do our jobs with skill even when we’re struggling. We care [for] families even when we can hardly care for ourselves. We serve major face on a red carpet when we feel like lying face down would be more appropriate.”
According to Endometriosis Australia, one in 10 women suffer from the disease, which occurs when the endometrium – or uterine lining – grows on the outside of the uterus, or elsewhere in the body.
Despite its prevalence, endometriosis has an estimated delay in diagnosis of between seven and 10 years, due to women – and often health professionals – mischaracterising its symptoms as merely period pain.