After a long, painful battle with endometriosis, Lena Dunham underwent a total hysterectomy recently to finally put an end to the chronic pain caused by the disease. Removing both her cervix and uterus, Lena has opened up about the surgery in an essay for Vogue revealing that her reproductive organs were more damaged than any of her doctors realized.
In the essay, which was published in part by The Endometriosis Foundation of America, she states that the elective surgery was her last option after years of ‘complex surgeries measuring in the double digits’ and alternative treatments including ‘pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, colour therapy, acupuncture’ and yoga. However, none of which proved successful for Lena, despite promises that her surgery had cured her disease.
In April, she was declared endometriosis-free after surgery to remove her ovaries from her rectal wall, however was rushed to hospital in May following complications. The decision to undergo a total hysterectomy was difficult but seemingly the right choice, given what doctors found when removing her reproductive organs. She wrote:
‘In addition to endometrial disease, [there was] 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. 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.’
While her reproductive organs were clearly in much worse condition than previously thought, Lena revealed that her ovaries remain intact. It means that she could still possess eggs, although they may be difficult to find. She continued:
‘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.’
Her choice to embrace adoption has been commended, given the intense fear many women have at not being able to conceive their own children. However, Lena is taking it all in her stride, stating ‘I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now’