Amy Schumer feels “like a new person” after having undergone surgery last year to treat years of chronic pain caused by endometriosis, she revealed in a new docuseries Monday.
Schumer opened up about her decades of health struggles — and how she has used comedy to cope — on one of the newest episodes of “The Check Up with Dr. David Agus,” which premiered on the streaming platform Paramount+ last week.
Schumer, 41, who starred in the hit films “Trainwreck” and “I Feel Pretty,” underwent a laparoscopic hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, and an appendectomy, or removal of the appendix, last year to treat what she calls the “lonely disease” of endometriosis, she told Agus, who is her physician and a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California.
Endometriosis is an often painful and incurable disorder in which the tissue similar to the kind that lines the uterus grows outside it 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, which notes that doctors estimate it affects at least 6.5 million women nationwide. The disorder, also called endo, can affect anyone with a uterus who is of reproductive age, but it is most common in people in their 30s and 40s.
Schumer documented the aftermath of the operations on Instagram in September 2021, saying the doctor had found that 30 endometriosis spots had spread from her uterus to her appendix.
“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 a post after the operation.
In the new docuseries, Schumer said she struggled with endometriosis-induced pain since she started menstruating when she was around 11 years old: “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.”
She went years without receiving a diagnosis, which she attributes to systemic inequities within medicine that can lead doctors to devalue women’s pain. “There is the inclination to always think a woman is just being dramatic,” she said.
She had a similar experience with her pregnancy – chronicled in the docuseries “Expecting Amy” — which she characterized as “a living hell” because of hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition characterized by severe nausea believed to be caused by a rise in hormone levels, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
“It was a full nine months of being violently ill,” Schumer said. “It was like I had food poisoning for nine months.”
But the diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum didn’t come until she was six months pregnant, she said, adding that she was “so excited to have a diagnosis” and that she has since talked to many other women who also dealt with it about their experiences.
Schumer gave birth to her son, Gene, in 2019.
While some of Schumer’s health struggles have waned, she still fights trichotillomania, a hair pulling disorder she has dealt with for decades, which she revealed following the premiere of her Hulu series, “Life & Beth,” this year.
When Schumer was around 10 years old, around the time her father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and her parents divorced, she began compulsively pulling out her hair and had to wear a wig to school, she told Agus.
The condition was later diagnosed as trichotillomania, which the Mayo Clinic characterizes as a mental disorder with an unknown cause.
Schumer said she continues to struggle with compulsive hair pulling, adding that hair extensions are “the only reason I can be on camera” and that she worries her son will also develop it.
Comedy, Schumer said in the docuseries, has offered her a way to help her family cope with the various health struggles they have faced: “Making everybody around me laugh made me feel better,” she said.
In the episode, Schumer also discussed her difficulties with sleep, her unsuccessful attempt to get pregnant a second time through IVF, her husband’s diagnosis on the autism spectrum and her father’s struggles with alcoholism and MS.
Schumer’s episode of “The Check Up” premiered alongside two others, which feature actors Nick Cannon, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
The first three episodes, which aired last week, focused on actor Ashton Kutcher and his brother, Michael; Oprah Winfrey; journalist Maria Shriver; and former “Deal or No Deal” host Howie Mandel.