Lena Dunham has written a piece for the March issue of Vogue detailing her difficult decision to have a full hysterectomy because of endometriosis. The painful condition causes scarring of the cervix and uterus and hospitalized the 31-year-old three times in 2017. Writing in the magazine, she said she opted for the operation following "years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits" and trying alternative treatments such as pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture.
After undergoing the hysterectomy, Lena said doctors discovered her condition was even worse than previously thought. "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," Lena wrote. "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."
Despite the procedure, Lena said she is already exploring her options for having children in the future. "I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now," she wrote. "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 affects an estimated 1.5 million women in the UK. The chronic and debilitating condition can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, and may lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel or bladder problems.