It can't be easy to share a photo of yourself post-surgery, dressed in a hospital cap and gown, for the whole world to see. But Halsey did it for a powerful reason: to spread awareness and hope about endometriosis, a painful gynecological disorder that's often misdiagnosed.
The 22-year-old "New Americana" singer posted her picture to Instagram after undergoing a series of procedures on Friday, "the most important of which being the surgery that would hopefully treat my endometriosis," she wrote in the caption.
Endometriosis, which is thought to affect about about 5 million women in the United States, occurs when the endometrium, or uterine tissue, grows outside the uterus. Women who suffer from it often experience severe pelvic pain, cramping, and heavy bleeding around their periods. It can also cause pain during sex or while going to the bathroom, as well as infertility. “For those of you who have followed this battle of mine or who may suffer with it yourself, you know the extremes to which it can be mentally exhausting and physically painful,” Halsey wrote.
Because some degree of menstrual pain is common for many women, doctors frequently miss endometriosis. Last January Halsey tweeted about the mix of relief and fear she felt when she finally learned the source of her chronic pain: "I was recently diagnosed after years of suffering and finding myself doubled over backstage in the middle of my sets, or fighting back tears on an airplane, or even being in so much pain I would vomit or faint. With doctors essentially telling me I was being a big baby about my period, or misdiagnosing PCOS, etc etc. Finding out that I had [endometriosis] was the most bittersweet moment because it meant I wasn’t crazy!"
Doctors usually treat the condition with Lupron injections to reduce estrogen levels, or a progestin-based contraceptive to slow the growth of the endometrium. But more severe cases may require a laparoscopic procedure in which a gynecologist makes a small incision near the belly button to find and take out problematic tissue.
In her most recent post, Halsey didn't specify what type of surgeries she had, only that her recovery would be difficult: “OK HONESTLY I’m in total agony right now (and I’m going to be in excruciating pain for a while cause I had quite the cocktail of procedures today),” she wrote.
Like other celebrities who have spoken out about their experiences with the disorder (including Lena Dunham and Padma Lakshmi), Halsey is helping the world see what this condition is really like. And for anyone who already knows, her message ended on an inspiring note: "In my recovery I am thinking of all of you and how you give me the strength and stamina to power through and prosper. If you suffer from chronic pain or a debilitating disease please know that I have found time to live a crazy, wild, rewarding life AND balance my treatment and I hope so much in my heart that you can too.”