Lena Dunham Gives Firsthand Account of What It's Like Living With Endometriosis
By Jackie Willis
Lena Dunham was very open and honest about her health issues on Thursday’s Women of the Hour podcast.
The Girls star recorded herself at Lennox Hill Emergency Room, and had her podcast producer come with her to offer an inside look into what it's like living with endometriosis, a disorder that makes the tissue that normally lines a woman's uterus grow outside of the uterus.
"This is my fourth time in the last three-and-a-half months being in the Lennox Hill Emergency Room,” she explained. “Third time for ovarian troubles: once was a broken radial head elbow fracture caused by tripping over a flip flop. But this is my fourth time and I spend a lot of time in this emergency room."
Dunham's recent trip to the ER was for what she thought was a urinary tract infection that had "been hurting more and more" for about a week. “I started antibiotics, didn’t do anything, and the pain in my back and my pelvis has become overwhelming," the 30-year-old star described. "So I’m here to figure out if I have an ovarian cyst or some other kind of ovarian issue that’s causing the continuous pain that is draining me of my life force.”
When asked to predict what treatment she might receive, Dunham responded, “A vaginal ultrasound is what I’m going to get. If they’re feeling nice to me, they’ll help me a little with my pain.”
The Golden Globe winner also went into detail about experiencing withdrawal symptons after taking morphine for her pain. “It takes your pain and pushes it away from your body," she said. "The pain’s gone, and it’s not replaced with lack of pain, it’s replaced with lack of giving a sh*t about anything."
Dunham said her withdrawals included sweating, shaking and crying. "I felt like I’d done something terribly wrong just by wanting to feel better," she admitted.
Dunham has opened up in the past about her struggle with endometriosis. In November 2015, she penned an essay about the disease in her Lenny newsletter. “The feeling of stopping a crew of 100 people from doing their jobs is far more stressful than missing Intro to Greek Drama class at a liberal-arts college, but I felt the same sense of hot shame,” Dunham wrote of her struggles with the illness. “The kind of shame you feel as someone with an anxiety disorder that plays tricks on them. The kind of shame you feel as a woman showing weakness.”