Bindi Irwin has undergone surgery for endometriosis — an inflammatory condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus — after struggling with the condition for a decade, the wildlife expert revealed Tuesday.
Irwin shared a photo of herself in a hospital bed post-surgery on Instagram, writing that she “battled for a long time wondering if I should share this journey with you in such a public space.”
“It came down to the responsibility I feel to share my story for other women who need help,” Irwin wrote.
Irwin, the only daughter of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, the world-famous Australian television personality and conservationist whoin 2006 while filming off the Great Barrier Reef, shared the news during Endometriosis Awareness Month.
According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, thean estimated 10% of women in their reproductive years. Because the disease has diverse symptoms, and since there are no blood or imaging tests for it, women are often shuttled from doctor to doctor before they get the right diagnosis. The condition can be painful and can go undetected for years.
Irwin, whoin 2021, wrote that she “struggled with insurmountable fatigue, pain & nausea,” for 10 years.
“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,” she 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.”
Irwin said doctors found 37 lesions, some of which were “deep and difficult to remove,” as well as a chocolate cyst, which is a cyst filled with “dark brown endometrial fluid,” according to the National Institutes of Health.
She said her doctor’s first reaction post-surgery was asking her, “How did you live with this much pain?” — adding how important it was for that “validation.”
Irwin wrote that she hopes sharing her experience will help end the stigma around the condition and inspire others to seek treatment.
“I’m aware of millions of women struggling with a similar story,” Irwin wrote. “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. Keep searching for answers.”