Lena Dunham Wrote an Incredibly Raw and Personal Essay About Her Hysterectomy

Lena Dunham, the creator of Girls, writer of Not That Kind of Girl, actress, and producer, just released an incredibly personal essay about her reproductive health. It was written as a part of Vogue’s March issue, though it was just released online as of today. In it, she opens up about the health struggles and life-changing medical experiences she’s gone through that resulted in her choosing to undergo a hysterectomy operation, or a total surgical removal of the uterus. Dunham was diagnosed with endometriosis, an acutely painful condition where the lining of the uterus, which is supposed to stay inside of the organ, grows outside of it. The tissue is then trapped, resulting in everything from excessive bleeding to fatigue, painful sex, painful periods, nausea, and more.

Last April, she underwent surgery to correct the endometriosis, though she was soon back in the hospital after experiencing emergency complications. It was then that doctors discovered her endometriosis was much more serious than they previously thought. The pain only increased from there. “In August, the pain becomes unbearable,” Dunham writes. “I am delirious with it, and the doctors can’t really explain. The ultrasound shows no cysts, no free fluid, and certainly no baby. But that doesn’t help the fact that it hurts so bad that the human voices around me have become a sort of nonsense Teletubbies singsong. With pain like this, I will never be able to be anyone’s mother. Even if I could get pregnant, there’s nothing I can offer.” The entirety of the essay is the same—raw, real, and painful, but it’s hopeful too.