Lena Dunham announces 'rest' due to endometriosis

Lena Dunham

Story highlights

  • 6-10% of all women have endometriosis
  • 11% of women will never experience symptoms

(CNN)In a Facebook message, Lena Dunham, star and producer of the HBO series "Girls," told fans that she was going to be taking some time off to rest because of her endometriosis, a condition most common in women in their 30s and 40s.

"It certainly can interefere with work life," said Dr. Scott Sullivan, an associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has not treated Dunham and is not familiar with her case.

    How common is endometriosis?

    According to the National Institutes of Health, endometriosis affects between 6-10% of women of reproductive age. The condition occurs when tissue that lines the uterus, is found outside of the uterus.
    "Most people think that when women have a period, a few of these cells travel through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen and then they end up implanting where they shouldn't be," said Dr. Scott Sullivan, associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.
    Sullivan said, most of the time those cells just die, but sometimes they implant themselves onto whatever muscle or organ inside. Once implanted, they continue to act like they are still inside the uterus. "They will bleed during a period, like the uterus. Instead of bleeding outside the body, it bleeds inside."

    Symptoms

    About 11% of women will not experience symptoms. However, for the rest of women with the condition, they typically feel pain during their cycles. For some women, it may develop into more