Bindi Irwin revealed she experienced 10 years of pain before being diagnosed with endometriosis and opened up about her struggle to find answers.
Endometriosis is a condition in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“I knew I couldn’t live like I was. Every part of my life was getting torn apart because of the pain,” Irwin wrote in an Instagram post Tuesday, sharing a photo of herself in a hospital bed after undergoing surgery.
For over a decade, the Australian TV host and daughter of Steve Irwin said she has dealt with insurmountable fatigue, pain, and nausea. Initially hesitant about disclosing her health publicly, the 24-year-old said she felt a responsibility to share her story to help other women who may be in a similar position. She joins other celebrities who’ve talked about living with endometriosis, like Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, and Halsey.
"Trying to remain a positive person & hide the pain has been a very long road. These last 10yrs have included many tests, doctors visits, scans, etc," Irwin wrote. "A doctor told me it was simply something you deal with as a woman & I gave up entirely, trying to function through the pain. I didn't find answers until a friend @lesliemosier helped set me on a path of regaining my life.”
Irwin said she decided to have surgery, which was scary but necessary because, she wrote, “I couldn’t live like I was.” She recalled her doctor asking her after the surgery how she had dealt with the pain for so long, a question that she described as “validation for years of pain.”
“Every part of my life was getting torn apart because of the pain. To cut a long story short, they found 37 lesions, some very deep & difficult to remove, & a chocolate cyst,” Irwin added. “My family & friends who have been on this journey with me for 10+ yrs - THANK YOU, for encouraging me to find answers when I thought I’d never climb out. Thank you to the doctors & nurses who believed my pain. I’m on the road to recovery & the gratitude I feel is overwhelming.”
Irwin encouraged people not to assume others are fine when looking at their life and to be gentle and pause before asking a woman when they plan to have more children, since endometriosis can affect fertility. She also pointed people looking for information to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, which works to educate doctors and patients on how to better recognize the disease.
After a difficult journey, Irwin said she’s appreciative to have a “gorgeous daughter” who feels like her “family’s miracle.”
“I’m aware of millions of women struggling with a similar story. There’s stigma around this awful disease. 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.”