Lena Dunham marked nine months since having a full hysterectomy by sharing three nude selfies on her Instagram.
The Girls star, who had the surgery at 31, revealed she’d been “battling endometriosis for a decade” in February.
Endometriosis is a condition that affects one in 10 women in the UK and can cause heavy periods, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems and infertility.
“I’ve never celebrated the nine-month anniversary of anything,” Lena wrote.
“I realised last night why that number feels so funny, I won’t ever do it the way I planned to.”
In one of the photos Lena also showed off an “RIP Judy” tattoo, which is the name Lena says she and her friend gave her uterus.
“Today I give thanks for Judy, for her graceful exit and for this body, which is stronger than I’ve ever given it credit for,” she added.
“Happy Giving Birth To Myself Day.”
Jilian Neckar, 25, has endometriosis and heavy menstrual bleeding, a condition that meant she was having 14-day periods from the age of 11.
She told Newsbeat she considered having a hysterectomy, an operation to remove the womb, after having surgery to try to ease her symptoms which wasn’t entirely successful.
“I started to think ‘Well why don’t I just have a hysterectomy and stop it all because I can’t keep living like this’.
“I can’t go through surgery, go through the pain of it, the absolute mental fatigue and exhaustion of surgery and then not have a result.”
‘Different for every woman’
While a hysterectomy may be the right decision for some women, the operation itself is a controversial issue.
“A hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis,” said Emma Cox, chief executive at Endometriosis UK.
“While it is different for every woman, quite often it’s not the womb itself that’s affected, it’s other organs, such as on the bowel, potentially the bladder, etc,” she explained.
“What that means is if someone has a hysterectomy, taking out what could be a healthy organ, it could actually leave the rest of the endometriosis there.”
Even though Jilian was well aware that a hysterectomy does not always help the condition, she said she was willing to take the risk at the time.
“Even a few weeks ago I was crying in my boyfriend’s arms saying I just want to have it all stop and I can’t live like this anymore.
“But for me the big decision I’ve been focused on is that it’s not necessarily going to be a cure and there’s a lot of impacts of having a hysterectomy as well.”
One of those impacts is young menopause, which Jilian feels would have “far greater lasting impacts” on her life than multiple surgeries through endometriosis.
“It’s not a simple cure, and I think that’s what I really craved and why I was looking to a hysterectomy.
“I was looking for something that would make me well again.”
Emma advises anyone thinking about getting a hysterectomy to speak to an endometriosis specialist and to make yourself aware of the long term implications.
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