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Lena Dunham Opens Up About Health Struggles
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14 Feb 2018 04:46 PM EST

Lena Dunham has always been a strong advocate for body autonomy, whether she's filming in her underwear for an episode of "Girls" or rallying behind Planned Parenthood. But Dunham's health struggles recently forced her to confront her body in a new and scary way.
In an essay penned for the March 2018 issue of Vogue, Dunham revealed that she underwent a total hysterectomy to remove her uterus and cervix, after "years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits" and trying alternative treatments.
She explained that the elective surgery was an attempt to end years of chronic pain from endometriosis. Excerpts of the essay were published by the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
In the essay, Dunham describes the aftermath of the procedure — when she discovered that her reproductive organs were in far worse shape than she 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," Dunham 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."
The "Not That Kind of Girl" author has spoken openly about her struggle with endometriosis, and was even admitted to the hospital after the 2017 Met Gala during a flare-up. The common condition — which also affects celebrities like Julianne Hough, Daisy Ridley, and Halsey— occurs when tissue grows outside of the uterus and often causes heavy periods and uterine pain, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

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