Bindi Irwin has shared that she was diagnosed with endometriosis in an effort to raise awareness about the condition.
While she wrote that she felt unsure about disclosing her experience, Irwin said an Instagram post that she wanted to help others with it who are struggling to receive treatment.
“I’m sharing my story for anyone who reads this & is quietly dealing with pain & no answers. Let this be your validation that your pain is real & you deserve help,” Irwin, the daughter of the late Steve Irwin said in a post featuring a picture of herself in a hospital bed. “Keep searching for answers.”
Irwin said she’d experienced pain, exhaustion and nausea for the past 10 years. It takes an average of seven to 10 years for people to be diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition that impacts more than 11% of women between 15 and 44, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other places and forms lesions. Endometriosis symptoms include: painful periods, pain during sex, nausea, constipation, cramping bloating and infertility.
In the past, Irwin said doctors had dismissed her symptoms.
“A doctor told me it was simply something you deal with as a woman & I gave up entirely, trying to function through the pain,” she said.
But a friend encouraged her to continue looking for help, and she underwent surgery, after which the doctor asked, “How did you live with this much pain?” she said.
“Validation for years of pain is indescribable,” Irwin wrote. “Thank you to the doctors & nurses who believed in my pain. I’m on the road to recovery & the gratitude I feel is overwhelming.”
Irwin said that her doctor found and removed 37 endometriosis lesions and a chocolate cyst, also called an ovarian endometrioma, a type of cyst filled with blood that looks like “chocolate syrup,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.
In her post, Irwin, who’s mom to daughter Grace, turning 2 this month, also encourages others to be more considerate when speaking to women about having children.
“Please be gentle & pause before asking me (or any woman) when we’ll be having more children. After all my body has gone through, I feel tremendously grateful that we have our gorgeous daughter,” she said. “She feels like our family’s miracle.”
Irwin’s husband, Chandler Powell, shared a message of support for his wife and her medical journey on Instagram.
“You are my inspiration to be as strong as I can be in every aspect of life. Seeing how you pushed through the pain to take care of our family and continue our conservation work while being absolutely riddled with endometriosis is something that will inspire me forever,” he wrote.