Lauren Ash opens up about chronic illness amid weight loss criticism: 'I didn't go on a diet'

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Lauren Ash is detailing her harrowing health journey — and reminding people never to judge.

The Superstore actress took to Instagram on Tuesday to share that, five years ago, she underwent an emergency surgery to have cysts removed. She shared two side-by-side photos of herself before and after the ordeal.

“The pic on the left was taken 5 years ago today. I had to have an emergency surgery for recurrent cysts on my right ovary due to #pcos,” she began the post. “This came just 6 months after my first surgery for cysts on that same ovary. The cysts had gotten so big, I was in constant, daily pain. There was a risk the cysts would twist (torsion) which can be fatal. So I spent the night in the emergency room and first thing in the morning, I was taken to an operating room.”

She shared that there was an episode of Superstore that she does not remember shooting as she was just five days out of surgery.

“My pain meds made me sleepy so I filmed without pain relief,” she recalled. “All I remember from those days is the searing pain I was in. They had to make me a new Dina uniform because my body was still full of gas from the laparoscopic surgery and my clothes didn’t fit.”

Ash said she wanted to talk about her story to encourage her followers not to comment on other people’s bodies, as “you probably don’t know the whole story.”

“For now, I remember that day 5 years ago that was absolutely terrifying and I am so happy that my body is so strong and healthy today,” she added. “And for everyone making assumptions about my weight loss, accusing me of secret lipo and all sorts of madness, just stop. I am a person who lives with chronic illness. It can take years or a lifetime to get chronic illnesses in line. And I have. It’s a major accomplishment in my life. I didn’t go on a diet. And when I’ve tried to explain publicly, I’ve been called a liar. So just remember, you never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. My personal motto is ‘I never regret choosing kindness’. And I recommend it to all.”

She concluded her post with, “I like this photo side by side because I like seeing how clear and bright my eyes are now in comparison. I wish I could give me from 5 years ago a big hug. And I also like reminding myself how different your life can be in 5 years. Anything is possible.”

Ash received support in her comments section from her industry peers. Workin' Moms actor Ryan Belleville wrote, "This is so incredible. I can’t believe you had to go through all this, and so awesome to share so others going through the same know." America Ferrera added, "So grateful you feel healthy and good!!"

Just last month, Ash opened up on social media about being told she was “no longer a role model” because she had lost weight.

“You know what's fun? When you're living in a larger body, people post that they're concerned for your health,” she began her May Instagram post. “Then, when you transition into a smaller body, people post that they're concerned for your health. Starting to feel like there's no winning as a woman.”

The True Crime and Cocktails podcast host added that she has “always” celebrated her body, no matter the size.

“I’m more confident and happier than ever before in my life and I enjoy commemorating that with fashion posts and all that fun stuff,” she continued. “If you don’t like it, and it’s upsetting to you, please unfollow and no need to inform me that you did. I honestly never expected the vitriol I’ve experienced over the past week simply because I’ve lost weight. You have no ownership over my body. Nor do you over any person in the public eye. And honestly? Would you ever tell a man he was no longer a role model because he lost weight? Exactly.”

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