Lena Dunham will not be joining the rest of the cast and producers of her hit HBO series Girls, explaining on social media that she is being sidelined by endometriosis, CNN is reporting.
In a Monday Facebook post, Dunham, 29, explained that her medical team has made it clear to her that the best thing she can do for her health at this point is to take some time off.
“Hey Beloved Pals,
I just wanted to let you know that, while I am so excited for Girls to return on Feb 21, I won’t be out and about doing press for the new season. As many of you know I have endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women’s reproductive health. I am currently going through a rough patch with the illness and my body (along with my amazing doctors) let me know, in no uncertain terms, that it’s time to rest. That’s a hard thing to do, but I’m trying, because all I want is to make season 6 of Girls the best one yet. I’m lucky enough to have support and backup from Jenni, Judd and the whole Girls gang. So many women with this disease literally don’t have the option of time off and I won’t take it for granted.
Wishing you all health & happiness, in whatever form suits you.
Dunham has always been open about her weight and health struggles, particularly when it comes to endometriosis, according to Hello Magazine. In a post on her blog, Lenny, Lena spoke of the debilitating effects the disease has taken on her health, emotions, and even her career.
“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… The kind of shame you feel as a woman showing weakness.”
Endometriosis affects between six and 10 percent of women of childbearing age, according to WebMD. It occurs when cells or tissue normally found inside the uterus implant elsewhere in the body such as ovaries, fallopian tubes, or stomach. Once those cells are implanted, they will continue to bleed, just as if they were inside the uterus. The pooling blood then causes discomfort and pain. The condition can also lead to cysts and, in some cases, can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant or delivering a healthy baby.
About 11 percent of women with endometriosis won’t experience any pain. For the rest, the symptoms can range from mild discomfort during their menstrual cycles to debilitating pain during, before, or after menstruation. In some five to 10 percent of women with endometriosis, the pain can be chronic and agonizing, according to Dr. Scott Sullivan, an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Although endometriosis usually affects women in their 30s and 40s, it is not unheard of in younger women or even teen girls. In her blog, Lena Dunham recalls having painful menstrual periods from the time she was an adolescent.
“From the first time I got my period, it didn’t feel right. The stomachaches began quickly and were more severe than the mild-irritant cramps seemed to be for the blonde women in pink-hued Midol commercials. Those might as well have been ads for yogurt or the ocean, that’s how little they conveyed my experience of menstruating.”
Treatments for endometriosis range from hormonal birth control and pain management to even hysterectomy in the most severe of cases.
Lena Dunham and the rest of the cast of Girls will return to HBO on February 21.
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Time Inc]