Bindi Irwin, wildlife conservationist and daughter of late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, has opened up about her decade-long struggle with endometriosis, saying the pain was destroying her life.
“I battled for a long time wondering if I should share this journey with you in such a public space,” Bindi wrote on Instagram Tuesday, as she shared a photo of herself in a hospital bed. “It came down to the responsibility I feel to share my story for other women who need help.”
Bindi, 24, said that she has struggled with “insurmountable fatigue, pain, [and] nausea” for 10 years, and that it has been “a very long road” of trying to remain positive and hiding the pain. All the while, she was undergoing numerous doctor visits, tests and scans.
“A doctor told me it was simply something you deal with as a woman and I gave up entirely, trying to function through the pain,” she added.
Finally, Bindi found an answer to her suffering, with the help of a friend.
“I decided to undergo surgery for endometriosis,” she wrote. “Going in for surgery was scary but I knew I couldn’t live like I was. Every part of my life was getting torn apart because of the pain.”
The surgeons found 37 lesions — “some very deep and difficult to remove,” she said — as well as a “chocolate cyst,” or ovarian endometrioma, which is a cyst filled with menstrual blood, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
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The Australia native wrote that when she was in post-op recovery, her surgeon’s first words to her were, “How did you live with this much pain?”
Bindi, who has a 23-month-old daughter with husband Chandler Powell, thanked her friends and family for encouraging her to find answers, and she thanked the doctors and nurses who finally believed her.
“Validation for years of pain is indescribable,” she wrote.
She also said that her “canceled plans, unanswered messages and absence” were a result of her “pouring every ounce of the energy I had left into our daughter and family.”
“Things may look fine on the outside looking in through the window of someone’s life,” she wrote. “However, that is not always the case. Please be gentle and pause before asking me (or any woman) when we’ll be having more children. After all that my body has gone through, I feel tremendously grateful that we have our gorgeous daughter. She feels like our family’s miracle.”
Bindi — who also shared a “khaki crew” photo of her husband, daughter, mother and brother on Monday — concluded her post with a link to the Endometriosis Foundation of America website.
“I’m aware of millions of women struggling with a similar story,” she wrote. “There’s stigma around this awful disease. I’m sharing my story for anyone who reads this and is quietly dealing with pain and no answers. Let this be your validation that your pain is real and you deserve help. Keep searching for answers.”