Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin, says that for years she’s lived with severe pain.
Tuesday, the Australian reality TV star came clean about her struggle with endometriosis and how she recently had surgery to remove legions from her ovaries. Taking to social media, Bindi said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to share her medical issues so publicly but ultimately decided other women needed to know they weren’t alone.
“For 10yrs I’ve struggled with insurmountable fatigue, pain & nausea,” she said in a Twitter post. “Trying to remain a positive person & hide the pain has been a very long road.”
Irwin went on to explain that, over the last decade, she has undergone many tests and scans, as well as many doctor visits.
“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 recounted. Ultimately, Irwin said she decided to undergo surgery for endometriosis.
According to Mayo Clinic, “endometriosis is a condition in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus.” It can also impact nearby organs, like the bowel and bladder. Treatment often involves pain medications and hormone therapy but, if those aren’t effective, patients may opt for surgery to remove endometriosis tissue.
The 24-year-old mother of one said that while it was terrifying to go under the knife, the pain was starting to seep into every aspect of her life.
“To cut a long story short,” she reported. “They found 37 lesions, some very deep & difficult to remove, & a chocolate cyst.” Ovarian endometriomas, sometimes known as chocolate cysts, are cysts that are filled with menstrual blood, Cleveland Clinic explains.
“[Dr. Tamer Seckin]’s first words to me when I was in recovery were, ‘How did you live with this much pain?'” Irwin continued. “Validation for years of pain is indescribable.” Dr. Seckin, an endometriosis specialist based in New York, also cared for actress Amy Schumer two years ago when she had a hysterectomy to help treat her endometriosis.
Bindi, who is married to Chandler Powell, said it’s a long road to recovery, and reminded everyone to be kind to one another.
“Things may look fine on the outside looking in through the window of someone’s life, however, that is not always the case,” she said. “Please be gentle & pause before asking me (or any woman) when we’ll be having more children.”
Ending the post, Bindi said she knows millions of women around the world understand what she’s going through and that their pain is not made up. Bindi joins a host of other celebrities who’ve opened up about their struggles with the often stigmatized disease.
Endometriosis is believed to affect more than 11% of American women, ages 15 to 44, according to the Department of Health & Human Services.