Amy Schumer opened up this week about her experience with endometriosis and the decision to have her uterus removed.
The actor and comedian, who previously shared her pregnancy journey in the HBO Max documentary Expecting Amy, updated followers on her surgery in an Instagram video posted on Sunday.
“So, it’s the morning after my surgery for endometriosis and my uterus is out,” she explained. “The doctor found 30 spots of endometriosis that he removed. He removed my appendix because the endometriosis had attacked it.”
With endometriosis, tissue similar to the tissue that lines the uterus is also present in other parts of the uterus. Called endometrium implants, this tissue is usually found in the pelvic area, in places like the fallopian tubes, the outside wall of the uterus, the bladder, and the rectum. In rare instances, endometrium tissue has been found in the lungs and skin.
The presence of this tissue outside of the uterus can cause inflammation, cysts, and scarring — all of which can be very painful.
Lone Hummelshoj, chief executive of the World Endometriosis Society, says that it’s not surprising to hear Schumer’s endometriosis affected her appendix.
“Endometriosis has been found in every single organ in the body except for the spleen,” Hummelshoj explains. “Those cells, by definition, attach and the appendix is right there. So they will attach themselves to the appendix just as they can attach themselves to the bladder to the bowel, to the ovaries, to the pelvic sidewall…”
Read more about one woman’s journey with endometriosis in What it Feels Like: Living with endometriosis.
Hysterectomy not a one-size-fits-all treatment for endometriosis
Hummelshoj cautions that having the uterus removed may not completely alleviate symptoms of the condition, as it depends on the location and physiology of the endometrial tissue — which may not be only concentrated around the uterus. In some instances, the uterus may be relatively unaffected by the endometrial implants, while in other instances, the tissue may be growing in the muscular wall of the uterus. This is known as adenomyosis.
Hysterectomy surgery, which entails removing the uterus, also carries many side effects. For example, if the ovaries are also taken out during this procedure, the patient will likely start menopause. It is important to discuss these and other options with a doctor who has had experience treating endometriosis to determine the best course of action.
Other forms of treatment include medication to reduce inflammation, hormonal medication to manage the growth of the endometrium, targeted surgery to remove the implants, as well as alternative approaches to managing pain.
Schumer expressed confidence that this was the best choice for her body and promised to continue to raise awareness for endometriosis.
“I think it’s gonna change my life,” she said in a second video posted to her Instagram. “I’m going to try to share this story at some point to raise awareness because so many people don’t even know the word endometriosis. It’s really painful and debilitating and you don’t have to live with it.”
Schumer captioned the video “Woman are made to feel like they are just supposed to “tough it out” but that is bullshit. We have a right to live pain free. Have you ever heard of endo?”