WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Comedian and actor Amy Schumer has struggled with numerous health conditions over the years but feels "like a new person" since having surgery to treat endometriosis.
Schumer detailed the experience in the new docuseries "The Checkup With Dr. David Agus."
"I'm feeling really hopeful and I am really glad that I did it, and I think it's going to change my life," Schumer said in an Instagram post after her operation, which included removal of her uterus and her appendix.
She wasn't happy with the slow pace of diagnosis and treatment, however. "[Women] are made to feel like they are just supposed to "tough it out" ... We have a right to live pain free. Have you ever heard of endo?" she posted after the surgery in September 2021.
The 41-year-old called endometriosis a "lonely disease."
Endometriosis affects about 6.5 million women nationwide, mostly in their 30s and 40s, though it can happen to anyone with a uterus of reproductive age. It involves tissue similar to that which lines the uterus growing outside the uterus and in other areas of the body, including the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and the bladder, according to the U.S. Office on Women's Health.
The disease is painful and incurable. Schumer lived with it from about the time she was 11 years old and started menstruating.
"I would hopefully get a good week a month where I wasn't in pretty significant pain, still trying to achieve, still trying to go through life, and it's been really difficult," Schumer said in the docuseries.
Prior to her surgery, about 30 endometriosis spots had spread from her uterus to her appendix, NBCNews reported.
In the docuseries, Schumer also discusses a range of personal and family health issues she's lived with. These include trying to get pregnant a second time through IVF, her husband's diagnosis on the autism spectrum, her father's struggles with alcoholism and MS, her own experiences with sleep issues, a pregnancy condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum and a mental health disorder called trichotillomania, according to the news report.
Schumer previously chronicled hyperemesis gravidarum in the docuseries "Expecting Amy." It was "a living hell" because of the severe nausea caused by rising hormone levels during pregnancy.
"It was a full nine months of being violently ill," Schumer said. "It was like I had food poisoning for nine months."
She was finally diagnosed with the condition when six months pregnant. Her son, Gene, was born in 2019.
Her trichotillomania, a hair pulling disorder, began when she was age 10. She continues to struggle with it.
Schumer said she began compulsively pulling out her hair and had to wear a wig to school. This happened around the time her father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and her parents divorced.
Hair extensions are “the only reason I can be on camera," the actor said. Schumer also said she worries her son will develop the condition.
Comedy has given her a way to cope with the health struggles, Schumer said.
"Making everybody around me laugh made me feel better," she said.
The docuseries began streaming on Paramount+ last week. Agus is Schumer's physician and a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California. On his show Nick Cannon, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin also share their medical stories.
The Office on Women’s Health has more on endometriosis.
SOURCE: NBC News