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Lena Dunham underwent a hysterectomy to silence endometriosis pain


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Photo: Instagram/@lenadunham

If you don’t have endometriosis, it’s hard imagine the grave difficulties that often accompany living with it. Lena Dunham has been incredibly open about her past struggles with the condition, and after years of unsuccessful attempts of banishing the pain, she made a big decision: to undergo a total hysterectomy.

In an essay published in the March issue of Vogue, Dunham wrote candidly about the procedure, noting it came after “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits.” She even tried other treatments, like “pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, color therapy, acupuncture” to no avail before deciding the hysterectomy was her best bet at relief.

Dunham wrote candidly about the procedure, noting it came after “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits,” and trying other treatments like “pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, color therapy, acupuncture” to no avail.

After having her cervix and uterus removed, the actress learned there were even more issues going on in her reproductive system than she realized.

“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. “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.”

Now, Dunham can finally be pain-free, which means she’ll have the time and the energy to fulfill even more of her goals—one of those being having children.

“I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now.” —Lena Dunham

“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.”

This is just the beginning of an exciting new journey. Endometriosis isn’t an easy road, but take it from Dunham: It can get better.

Here’s how Tia Mowry learned to use food to ease her endometriosis. Or, take a look at the most inspiring advice Well+Good council members shared last year.

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