Lena Dunham is known for many things, perhaps most of all for keeping it real. So it's no surprise that she's been taking us behind-the-scenes of her serious reproductive health problems since 2014. And in a recent interview for New York Magazine's The Cut, the Girls creator shared even more details from her hysterectomy and subsequent surgeries to combat her endometriosis.
“The doctor said he’d never seen a uterus as misshapen as mine,” Dunham tells The Cut. Prior, she had multiple operations to remove lesions and repair ruptured ovarian cysts. Towards the end of her time working on Girls, her health took a turn for the worst. She was only able to get around using a walker and, and after losing 30 pounds and fainting at the Met Gala, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and a mixed connective-tissue disorder, she shares.
"Lonely" and "medicated," is how she describes the time in her life, and despite pushback from her doctors, she elected to go through with an elective hysterectomy at 31 in an attempt to relieve her endometriosis pain. She remembers feeling vindicated after her surgeon told her that her case was one of the worst he's seen.
Dunham, who didn't have time to freeze her eggs, says, "It’s really amazing, in points of extreme distress, how things you thought were nonnegotiable start to become negotiable... I thought I would do anything to have a kid naturally. Turned out that wasn’t true."
While Dunham is frequently criticized for over sharing, we're sure many women with similar health issues are grateful for her honesty when it comes to dealing with endometriosis.
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Yesterday I had a two hour surgery to remove my left ovary, which was encased in scar tissue & fibrosis, attached to my bowel and pressing on nerves that made it kinda hard to walk/pee/vamp. Over the last month it got worse and worse until I was simply a burrito posing as a human. *** My mother took this picture after I spent 9 hours in the post op recovery area with v low blood pressure that the nurses were diligently monitoring. I was so out of it that I thought I looked sensually moody a la Charlotte Rampling (turns out it was more of a constipation vibe.) *** A lot of people commented on my last post about being too sick to finish promoting my show by saying my hysterectomy should have fixed it (I mean *should* is a weird one). That I should get acupuncture and take supplements (I do). That I should see a therapist because it’s clearly psychological (year 25 of therapy, y’all. These are the fruits!) But a big lesson I’ve learned in all of this is that health, like most stuff, isn’t linear- things improve and things falter and you start living off only cranberry juice from a sippy cup/sleeping on a glorified heating pad but you’re also happier than you’ve been in years. I feel blessed creatively and tickled by my new and improved bellybutton and so so so lucky to have health insurance as well as money for care that is off of my plan. But I’m simultaneously shocked by what my body is and isn’t doing for me and red with rage that access to medical care is a privilege and not a right in this country and that women have to work extra hard just to prove what we already know about our own bodies and beg for what we need to be well. It’s humiliating. *** My health not being a given has paid spiritual dividends I could never have predicted and it’s opened me up in wild ways and it’s given me a mission: to advocate for those of us who live at the cross section of physical and physic pain, to remind women that our stories don’t have to look one way, our pain is our gain and oh shit scars and mesh “panties” are the fucking jam. Join me, won’t you? *** 📷 @lauriesimmons