Lena Dunham Undergoes Hysterectomy After Battle With Endometriosis

In a personal essay for the upcoming issue of 'Vogue,' the actress admits to having removed her cervix and uterus after "years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits."

Lena Dunham shares that she recently underwent a full hysterectomy procedure after spending years dealing with endometriosis-related pain in an personal essay penned for the March issue of Vogue magazine.

The Girls creator writes that her decision to undergo the surgery, which involves the removal of the uterus and cervix, came after enduring “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits.” Dunham admits that she also attempted alternative treatments such as “pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, color therapy, acupuncture” and yoga.

“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,” Dunham wrote of her added struggles at the time. “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.”

The actress had been hospitalized three times in less than a year for endometriosis, even undergoing surgery last April to free her ovaries from her rectal wall. Though she believed she was free of the disease, a month later, Dunham was rushed to the hospital for complications. Days later, she was forced to cancel her Lenny IRL tour, revealing that she was “in the greatest amount of physical pain that I have ever experienced." Dunham had to face the tragic news that, during the surgery, doctors discovered the actress had more endometriosis. 

Despite now being free of endometriosis, the actress is unable to carry a child. Dunham writes that, despite the circumstances, she is determined to dissect various options. “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.”

Dunham is set to return to HBO with a new series, Camping, which will star Jennifer Garner.

Dunham tweeted why she decided to write about her battle and choice and the responses she's received "from women in a similar predicament."

"Your body failing you is a loss that’s hard to explain and yet the amount of messages I’ve gotten from women in a similar predicament has been so overwhelming, loving and heartening," she wrote. "60 million women in America are living with hysterectomies and those of you who’ve shared your plight and perseverance makes me feel so honored to be in your company. My illness & choice was just that: MY choice. I’m not a doctor and I SURE DON’T CLAIM TO BE, but sharing this piece which delves deeper into the options women have. My decision was what was best for me and I hope this helps you make the best decision for you & your health."


Feb. 16, 8:45 a.m., 1:25 p.m. This story has been updated with Dunham's tweets about the response to her essay and Instagram post about her experience in the hospital.