It is a life-changing decision that affects millions of women around the world. A hysterectomy – the surgical removal of the uterus – can be a last resort for those who suffer from endometriosis, a debilitating condition that causes tissue that normally lines the womb to grow outside it.
Endometriosis can lead to agonising cramps, heavy bleeding, infertility, and other complications. It can also increase the risk of ovarian cancer, which is why some women opt for a hysterectomy as a preventive measure or a treatment.
A hysterectomy can also be done for birth control reasons, or as a result of other health issues. But it is not a simple procedure. It can have physical and emotional consequences, such as early menopause, hormonal changes, and loss of fertility.
Many celebrities have opened up about their choice to have a hysterectomy, sharing their stories of pain and recovery. They have also spoken about their hopes and fears of becoming mothers, either through adoption, surrogacy, or other means.
Here are some of the famous women who have had their wombs removed and why.
- Sandra Lee: The TV chef and author announced she was having a hysterectomy in March 2022, almost seven years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She said she wanted to get rid of the “halo of worry” hanging over her head and live her best life. “So while you’re reading this post I am undergoing hysterectomy surgery. A surgery that so many brave women before me have had to do,” she wrote on Instagram. She also thanked her boyfriend Ben Youcef and her friends and family for their support.
- Amy Schumer: The comedian and actress revealed that she had her appendix and uterus removed in September 2021, after suffering from endometriosis for years. She said her doctor found 30 spots of endometriosis and a lot of blood in her uterus. “I feel so much better than I did maybe ever,” she said in a video on Instagram. She also joked that she was “excited” to see what her period would be like now.
- Lena Dunham: The Girls creator and star wrote an essay for Vogue magazine in February 2018, revealing that she had a full hysterectomy at age 31, after enduring years of chronic pain from endometriosis. She said she made the decision after trying “pelvic floor therapy, massage therapy, pain therapy, colour therapy, acupuncture” and more. She also expressed her desire to become a mother someday. “I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now,” she wrote.
- Elizabeth Taylor: The Hollywood legend had an emergency hysterectomy in 1961, at age 36, after being diagnosed with a rare form of pneumonia that threatened her life. She had already given birth to four children and had two miscarriages. She later adopted two more children with her fifth husband Richard Burton. She said the surgery made her feel “like a woman again” and helped her cope with depression.
- Roseanne Barr: The sitcom star and controversial comedian had a hysterectomy in 1991, at age 38, after suffering from ovarian cancer. She said she felt “liberated” by the surgery and joked that she was “the first woman in history who actually enjoyed menopause.” She also said she was glad she didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant anymore.
These are just some of the celebrities who have had hysterectomies for various reasons. They have shown courage and resilience in facing their health challenges and inspiring other women to do the same.