Just in time for the end of Girls, Lena Dunham has recovered from her occasionally debilitating endometriosis. Lena has been talking openly about her struggle with the condition for years, writing in a past edition of Lenny Letter, “From the first time I got my period, it didn’t feel right. The stomachaches began quickly and were more severe than the mild-irritant cramps seemed to be for the blonde women in pink-hued Midol commercials. Those might as well have been ads for yogurt or the ocean, that’s how little they conveyed my experience of menstruating.” That Lenny edition also included the stories of Padma Lakshmi, who struggles with endometriosis as well.
The condition, which causes the lining of the uterus that is shed during a normal period to grow on the exterior of the uterus, is excruciatingly painful. In the past Lena would occasionally suffer from the condition so much that she'd be forced to withdraw from important work engagements:
Lena has had multiple surgeries over the years to deal with her pain, and as she described in her April 4 Lenny newsletter, she had finally decided not to do further surgeries, feeling she’d had too many invasive procedures. Instead, she attempted a more holistic approach towards pain.
She wrote, “These painkilling efforts have included yoga (a plus for many things, but un-adhering an ovary from your butt region isn’t one of them), therapy (always great, unless you have to cancel cuz your vagina hurts), a holistic diet (well, I guess thin shaming IS real? Sorry for all the times I denied you, blondes of the world!), and even a brief, passionate, and ultimately disastrous affair with vaginal valium (I could see my obit, and I didn’t like it).”
But the actress' pain eventually became unbearable. On Sunday, Lena went in for surgery one more time, and when she woke up, it was to a very pleasant surprise: She had “no endometriosis left.”
“Between my surgeries and hormonal intervention, I was disease-free." she shared. "That doesn’t mean it can never return, but for now, once my sutures have been removed and my bruises have changed from blue to yellow to green to gone, I will be healthy,” wrote Lena.
Now, she has to deal with recovery. And having lived for a long time with intense physical pain, Lena says adjusting will be a challenge. She believes that physical distress can distract people from other sources of pain in their life, like the emotional and the psychological. Still, Lena is excited to see where this new space to grow takes her. She wrote, “My job is to educate people, to try to change the pathetic lack of resources for endometriosis, but it’s also to seize this gift. I’ll be more useful that way. We all would be if we unloaded an old ache.”