Lena Dunham revealed last week that she has undergone an operation to remove her left ovary. The producer and star of the the acclaimed HBO series, Girls, suffers from endometriosis. Despite having undergone a hysterectomy a year ago, in which her uterus was removed, the pain has continued to plague her. Here at Pink Parcel, we’ve been following Lena’s treatment journey with admiration. As fans of the influencer, we salute her for being brave enough to raise awareness around the condition.
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Lena Dunham posted on Instagram:
“Yesterday, I had a two-hour surgery to remove my left ovary, which was encased in scar tissue and fibrosis, attached to my bowel and pressing on nerves that made it kinda hard to walk/pee/vamp.”
She went on to say; “I’m simultaneously shocked by what my body is and isn’t doing for me and red with rage that access to medical care is a privilege and not a right in this country and that women have to work extra hard just to prove what we already know about our own bodies and beg for what we need to be well. It’s humiliating.”
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition, where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside of the womb, most commonly in the pelvic region. Endometriosis is fairly common, affecting around one in 10 women in the UK. Symptoms of endometriosis can include painful periods, pain in the lower abdomen or lower back and fatigue. The condition can also make it difficult to conceive. Here is a more detailed look at the signs and symptoms of endometriosis.
It can often be hard to get diagnosed with endometriosis and many women, including Lena Dunham, have voiced concern over what is felt to be a lack of awareness and priority when it comes to conditions that are too often quickly pushed aside as women’s issues. Endometriosis symptoms vary greatly in severity – this is one woman’s story about what it’s like to live with endometriosis.
What is a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is an operation to remove the uterus. After a hysterectomy has been done, periods stop and it is no longer possible for the woman to get pregnant. A hysterectomy may be carried out to treat many conditions, including fibroids (non-cancerous tumours), ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and cervical cancer. As a major operation, a hysterectomy will only be carried out if all other treatment options have already been explored.
Is it just the uterus that’s removed in a hysterectomy?
There are four different types of hysterectomy:
Total hysterectomy: This is the most common type of hysterectomy, in which only the uterus and cervix are removed.
Subtotal hysterectomy: This is where the uterus is removed but the cervix is left intact.
Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: In this type of hysterectomy, the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed.
Radical hysterectomy: The uterus and surrounding tissues are removed, including the fallopian tubes, part of the vagina, ovaries, lymph glands and any surrounding fatty tissue.