The 'Girls' star won't be doing press for the HBO show's fifth season because of the condition
Lena Dunham
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Lena Dunham opened up about her health in a post on Facebook, announcing she “won’t be out and about doing press for the new season” of Girls because of endometriosis, a chronic condition.

“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,” she wrote. “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 … So many women with this disease literally don’t have the option of time off and I won’t take it for granted.”

Dunham recently wrote about endometriosis in an essay for her newsletter Lenny Letter, where she defined the condition as “when the tissue that lines the uterus grows in other places in the body.” Symptoms include abnormally painful periods, ones Dunham experienced from the time she first began menstruating, she wrote.

“From the first time I got my period, it didn’t feel right,” she said. “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.”

In the piece, she detailed how she was afraid to take breaks from work for fear that she’d be viewed as weak, especially when she was working with mostly men at the beginning of her career. “Already self-conscious about imposing my vision on a group of men and asking for their help in executing it, I hid my pain as best I could.”

Dunham ended the piece by clarifying that endometriosis “is not life-threatening” and wrote about how it changed her life. “All along the way, a massive fear of mine was ‘being discovered,’ that someone would decide I wasn’t strong enough for my work or my life because of what I dealt with physically and emotionally,” Dunham wrote.

“But I am strong because of what I’ve dealt with … And I am no longer scared of my body. In fact, I listen to it when it speaks. I have no choice but to respect what it tells me, to respect the strength of its voice and the truth of my own.”

Read the full essay here and see her Facebook post below. Girls‘ fifth season premieres Feb. 21 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.