With the candor that distinguishes both her personal life and her art, Girls creator Lena Dunham has disclosed that she underwent a total hysterectomy in recent months to end the years-long chronic pain of endometriosis. Dunham shares the personal information in an essay in the upcoming March issue of Vogue, portions of which were excerpted yesterday on the website of the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
Dunham writes that her decision to undergo the elective surgery – a total hysterectomy involves the removal of the cervix and uterus – followed “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits” as well as alternative treatments including “pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, color therapy, acupuncture” and yoga.
Dunham writes candidly about her lifelong desire to have children. “As a child, I would stuff my shirt with a pile of hot laundry and march around the living room beaming,” she writes. “Later, wearing a prosthetic belly for my television show, I stroke it subconsciously with such natural ease that my best friend has to tell me I am creeping her out.”
But Dunham writes that her health concerns were unavoidable. “I can feel it, deeply specific yet unverified, despite so many tests and so much medical dialogue. I just sense that the uterus I have been given is defective.”
The Endometriosis Foundation of America website notes that Dunham “has been hospitalized at least three times in less than a year for endometriosis,” and that she underwent surgery last April to free her ovaries from her rectal wall. On May 1 of last year, during her appearance at the Met Gala in NYC, she was rushed to a local hospital with complications.
Dunham writes that she is exploring “choices” for starting a family. “Soon I’ll start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs,” she writes. “Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.”
On the work side, Dunham and her Girls exec producer Jenni Konner will begin production this spring in Los Angeles on Camping, an HBO half-hour comedy series set to star Jennifer Garner, based on the British series created by Julia Davis. Dunham and Konner will write and showrun.