Women with endometriosis have been sharing their experiences of pain and frustration after Lena Dunham posted a candid photo from her hospital bed.
The ‘Girls’ star has long been vocal about her experience of endometriosis – a condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the womb is found outside the womb, causing painful and heavy periods, pain during sex and, in some cases, fertility issues.
Dunham had a hysterectomy at the age of 31 earlier this year in the hopes of ending her symptoms but after persistent pain, she’s now had surgery to remove her left ovary, too.
“A big lesson I’ve learned in all of this is that health, like most stuff, isn’t linear – things improve and things falter,” she wrote in the caption on Instagram.
Commenting on the photo, one woman (Instagram user @sophie_kamanis) said: “I cannot count how many times I’ve been in a hospital bed with the same scars. Keep fighting, keep healing and keep moving forward. There are millions of women who are struggling with you, we endo warriors have to stick together!”
Other women on Twitter have been prompted to share their own experiences of endometriosis following Dunham’s post. Many detailed multiple surgeries they’ve had in an attempt to reduce their symptoms, while noting their frustration that endometriosis has no cure.
Others have also pointed out that a lack of public awareness and understanding about endometriosis can present another hurdle for those diagnosed.
Endometriosis is thought to affect one in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK. Although there is no known cure, treatments can be prescribed in order to reduce symptoms.
According to the NHS, pain medication and hormone medication are your first ports of call. When other options have been explored, surgery is sometimes recommended to remove or destroy areas of endometriosis tissue, which can help improve symptoms of pain and fertility.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines on what to expect if you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and how to push for the right care. Treatment often involves a joined-up approach, from diet and physiotherapy to pain management, psychological support and, possibly, surgery.