Bindi Irwin has shared that she was diagnosed with endometriosis in an effort to raise awareness of the condition.
While she wrote that she felt unsure about disclosing her experience, Irwin said in an Instagram post that she wanted to help others with it who are struggling to receive treatment.
“I am sharing my story for all who read this and are dealing with pain in silence and no answers. This is your recognition that your pain is real and you deserve help,” Irwin, the late Steve Irwin’s daughter said in a post alongside a photo of herself in a hospital bed. “Keep searching for the answers.”
Irwin said she has been experiencing pain, fatigue and nausea for the past 10 years. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, it takes an average of seven to 10 years for people to be diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition that affects more than 11% of women between 15 and 44.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows and forms lesions in other places. Symptoms of endometriosis include: painful periods, pain during sex, nausea, constipation, cramps, bloating and infertility.
Irwin has said in the past that doctors dismissed his symptoms.
“A doctor told me it was just something you do as a woman and I completely gave up, trying to function through the pain,” she said.
But a friend encouraged her to continue seeking help, and she had surgery, after which the doctor asked, “How do you live with so much pain?” He said.
“The recognition for years of pain is indescribable,” wrote Irvine. “Thank you to the doctors and nurses who believed in my pain. I am on my way to recovery and the gratitude I feel is overwhelming.”
Irwin said her doctor removed 37 endometriosis lesions and a chocolate cyst, also known as an ovarian endometrioma, which is a type of cyst filled with blood that looks like “chocolate syrup,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.
In her post, Irwin, who is mom to daughter Grace, who turns 2 this month, encourages others to be more considerate when speaking about women having children.
“Please be gentle and pause before asking me (or any woman) when we will have more children. After what my whole body has gone through, I feel so grateful that we have a beautiful daughter,” she said. Feels like the miracle of our family.”
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. How you overcame pain to take care of our family and continue our conservation work while battling endometriosis head-on is something that will inspire me forever,” he wrote.