Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Gave Up on More Treatment, Pain and Uncertainty; as Lena Dunham Opens Up about Undergoing Radical Surgery in an an Attempt to Beat Endometriosis, LAUREN TAYLOR Finds out More about This Debilitating Condition

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I Gave Up on More Treatment, Pain and Uncertainty; as Lena Dunham Opens Up about Undergoing Radical Surgery in an an Attempt to Beat Endometriosis, LAUREN TAYLOR Finds out More about This Debilitating Condition

Article excerpt

Byline: LAUREN TAYLOR

SHE is just 31 years old, but this week actress Lena Dunham announced she has undergone a full hysterectomy after many years of chronic pain brought on by the complex and misunderstood condition endometriosis.

The creator and star of the TV series Girls, explained why she underwent the procedure to remove her cervix and uterus in an essay for Vogue, republished by the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

In it, the Emmy winner, who had already undergone multiple operations, explains how she made the difficult choice to have the elective surgery. She writes: "I have to admit I am really choosing this - I gave up on more treatment. I gave up on more pain. I gave up on more uncertainty."

WHAT EXACTLY IS ENDOMETRIOSIS? IT'S actually a very common condition - one in 10 women in the UK suffer from it, and 176 million worldwide. Huge numbers, yet on average it takes 7.5 years from the onset of symptoms for women to be diagnosed.

Endometriosis is when cells like the ones in the lining of the womb are found in other parts of the body, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, stomach or bowel.

"This tissue thickens and bleeds during your monthly cycle, however, the blood cannot escape through the vagina," says consultant gynaecologist at Nuffield Health, Bristol, Dr Caroline Overton.

"This blood becomes trapped and irritates tissue around it. This can cause pain and scar tissue."

It usually affects women and teenage girls of a child-bearing age and, unfortunately, the cause isn't known and there's no definite cure.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? THERE are many symptoms and they can vary hugely in severity from woman to woman. Common symptoms include pain in the lower tummy, severe period pain, very heavy periods, pain during or after sex, pain going to the toilet during your period, feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea and fatigue.

GP and medical director of Medichecks, Dr Sam Rodgers, says: "The pain from endometriosis can be really severe, and stop people leading a normal life for several days a month."

Lena has been hospitalised at least three times in less than a year for endometriosis, according to her Vogue article. …

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