Lena Dunham Reveals She Had a Hysterectomy in Heartbreaking Essay

by at .

A lot of people don't really care for Lena Dunham, and they don't care for her for a number of reasons.

Those reasons are all very valid, but one admirable thing about Lena is that she's always been ready and willing to talk about her endometriosis.

Lena Dunham Looks Serious

Endometriosis is no joke -- it can cause debilitating pain and it affects millions of women -- but it's still pretty misunderstood, and there's not as much research happening on it as there should be.

Women who have the disease are often brushed off by being told that they're simply being dramatic about their periods when really it's so much more than that.

As Lena revealed in an essay she just wrote for Vogue, it can actually change your entire life.

If you're serious about your celebrity gossip, there's a good chance that you've heard about Lena's endometriosis before.

She's had multiple surgeries to try to combat the symptoms -- which for her have mostly seem to be lots and lots of pain -- and last spring, she had to leave the Met Gala to be hospitalized for complications.

Lena Dunham Hospital Photo

In this new essay, she explains that a few months ago, she had yet another surgery: a hysterectomy.

"In August, the pain becomes unbearable," she writes. "I am delirious with it, and the doctors can't really explain. The ultrasound shows no cysts, no free fluid, and certainly no baby."

She says that from then until November she tried to "manage this new level of pain," and that she tried several different kinds of therapy, as well as acupuncture and yoga, to try to find some relief.

"Finally I ask my doctor if my uterus needs to come out," she recalls. "She says, 'Let's wait and see.'"

After two days of waiting and seeing, Lena says that she checked herself into a hospital and told doctors that she either wanted a hysterectomy or a solution to her pain.

Lena Dunham Exposes a Shoulder

As you could imagine, it took a while for her to convince the hospital staff that she actually did want her uterus removed, and that she understood everything that entailed.

She even wrote an essay on the topic for the doctors, in which she at one point referred to herself as "someone who hurts too much to express themselves, who can't help but be a nuisance at best and a terror at worst."

After having her therapist write her doctors a letter, and after having a few sessions with a therapist selected by her doctors, she underwent a different surgical procedure -- and when that didn't work, she says that her request for a hysterectomy was finally taken seriously.

After the surgery was completed, she writes "I wake up surrounded by family and doctors eager to tell me I was right. My uterus is worse than anyone could have imagined. It's the Chinatown Chanel purse of nightmares, full of both subtle and glaring flaws."

Lena Dunham Poses

"In addition to endometrial disease, an odd humplike protrusion, and a septum running down the middle, I have had retrograde bleeding, a.k.a. my period running in reverse, so that my stomach is full of blood."

She also says that her ovary was positioned on nerves in her back, and "let's please not even talk about my uterine lining."

Now, a few months after her hysterectomy, she says that she's healing nicely, though she does have a bit of a limp.

"My mind, my spirit, are another story," she says. "Because I had to work so hard to have my pain acknowledged, there was no time to feel fear or grief. To say goodbye."

Because of course to make the choice to have a hysterectomy was to make the choice never experience pregnancy and childbirth -- something she says she's wanted her entire life.

Lena Dunham Looks Shy

Instead, Lena plans on "exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs," and she also says that "adoption is a thrilling truth I'll pursue with all my might."

"But I wanted that stomach," she admits. "I wanted to know what nine months of complete togetherness could feel like. I was meant for the job, but I didn't pass the interview."

"And that's OK. It really is. I might not believe it now, but I will soon enough. And all that will be left is my story and my scars, which are already faded enough that they're hard to find."

The whole essay is a tough read, and it's hard to imagine how Lena must be feeling about all this.

Whether you love her or hate her, she definitely deserves respect for putting herself out there like she did.

Show Comments

Lena Dunham Quotes

My mother and I have a massive fight when I choose to wear a banana-printed belly shirt and pink leggings to the Vatican.

I am 20 years old and hate myself. My hair, my face, the curve of my stomach. The way my voice comes out wavering and my poems come out maudlin.