If you’re suffering from Endometriosis or experiencing symptoms, always seek medical advice from your doctor for diagnosis and treatment options.
“Tears came unbidden as I gripped my pelvis and muttered, ‘Something’s really wrong inside me’ … I pictured a red rim around every organ, a fiery line slashing through my uterus and bladder and out of me onto the floor like a vag-centric Keith Haring painting.”
It’s estimated one in 10 women suffer from endometriosis, a chronic and incurable disease of the female reproductive organs. It occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus, resulting in inflammation, scar tissue and often debilitating pain.
In a post titled 'The Sickest Girl', Dunham recalls that from the first time she had her period she knew something wasn't right. Throughout her teen years, her periods were irregular and accompanied by severe stomach pains and "hideous" mood swings, but she couldn't help suspecting these were tied to the anxiety and OCD she'd experienced since childhood.
"Even my eternally supportive and tolerant parents seemed dubious... It was impossible for me to take my own pain seriously, so how could anyone else?" the Not That Kind of Girl author writes.
Pain, exhaustion and "innate physical sensitivity" followed Dunham into her college years and eventually her career; on her early film sets she would hide in the toilets to conceal her pain.
While writing the pilot of her hit series Girls, she began smoking and drinking large amounts of espresso — a regimen that quickly resulted in a dull, unmanageable lower back pain.
Dunham emerged from a trip to the ER with a colitis diagnosis and an appointment for a colonoscopy. The results came back clear, but this was no comfort for the actress; instead, it made her feel crazy.
"If my pain had no tangible source, that just meant my mind was more powerful than I was and it didn’t want me to be happy, ever ... I had lost all trust in or connection to my own body," she writes.
The turning point came when Dunham contracted a UTI and was referred to LA-based physician Randy Harris, who conducted a full checkup while asking her questions about her medical history.
"I saw his eyes flicker as he began to make clear connections: between the irregular periods and the crippling stomach pain, the chronic exhaustion and the intense shifts in mood around my period," she recalls. (Post continues after gallery.)