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Actress Lena Dunham has revealed that she recently underwent a hysterectomy to treat crippling pain from endometriosis.
In an essay published in Vogue this week, Dunham detailed her decision to have the uterus-removing surgery after a decade-long battle with endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus (called the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, causing severe pain around the time of menstruation.
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A hysterectomy, or a surgery to remove the uterus, might seem to get to the source of endometriosis pain. But removing the uterus — endometrium included — isn't a surefire way to cure the condition, experts told Live Science.
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A hysterectomy for endometriosis is considered a last resort and fairly extreme treatment, said Dr. Metee Comkornruecha, director of adolescent medicine at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, who is not involved in Dunham's case. But, "for some women, it may make sense," he said.
However — and perhaps surprisingly — a hysterectomy is not a sure cure for the condition. That's because the lining of the uterus may remain in other parts of the body, such as the abdominal cavity, Comkornruecha told Live Science. If this extra lining is missed and not removed during surgery, then the pain symptoms may not go away.
University - Michigan - Uterus - Ovaries - Relief
According to the University of Michigan, removing the uterus and ovaries usually provides pain relief from endometriosis, but the relief doesn't always last — in 15 out of 100 women, pain symptoms return after surgery. And for women who don't have their ovaries removed, as was the case for Dunham, the chances of lifelong pain relief are lower. According to a 2014 review paper, about 62 percent of women who have a hysterectomy for endometriosis,...
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