Bindi Irwin spent years dealing with excruciating, daily pain from undiagnosed endometriosis, but it wasn’t until she became a mother that she was galvanized to finally “figure out what was wrong.”
In a recent Instagram video post, the 24-year-old daughter of beloved conservationist Steve Irwin revealed more about her journey with endometriosis, or endo. She began experiencing symptoms of the painful reproductive condition at just 14 years old, she recalled.
“Suddenly no matter where we went or what we were doing, I would just be falling asleep wherever we were,” she told her 5.4 million followers.
Irwin underwent “every blood test you can possibly imagine for tropical diseases,” multiple scans, and ultrasounds. But endometriosis doesn’t always show up on scans, so her case flew under the radar despite her agony and exhaustion. Needless to say, Irwin became discouraged.
“We tried and tried and tried for years and years and years. And finally, a doctor said to me, ‘This is just part of being a woman,’” she recalled. “And that’s when I gave up, and I stopped looking for answers.
A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)
Last summer, Irwin decided to continue pushing for a solution to her “insurmountable” pain. The deciding factor? Her firstborn daughter, Grace, whom she’d welcomed with her husband, Chandler Powell, in 2021.
“It wasn’t until after I had my beautiful daughter Grace that I picked back up again and [tried] to figure out what was wrong with me,” she said. “I decided I needed to figure out what was happening to me because I was carrying Grace up this tiny hill, and suddenly the pain hit me out of nowhere. I had to hand Grace to my mom and just curl up in the fetal position on the ground because the stabbing pain in my sight was insurmountable.“
Irwin had previously been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but after talking with a friend, she realized endometriosis would explain all of her symptoms. She underwent an exploratory surgery to diagnose the condition.
Lo and behold, she received a diagnosis, which allowed her to finally address her debilitating pain once and for all.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the uterine lining — called endometrial tissue — grows outside the uterus. According to Mayo Clinic, it can cause severe period pain, pain during sex, bloating, nausea, and fertility issues. It is sometimes mistaken for IBS, as was the case for Irwin.
The condition is incurable, but there are options to ease symptoms. Some patients opt for surgery to remove excess endometrial tissue, which can alleviate endo-related pain. Others may choose to take hormone therapy or pain relieving medication.
Sadly, Irwin’s struggle to get diagnosed is not unique. Endometriosis affects an estimated 10 percent of people with uteruses of reproductive age globally, yet it often goes misdiagnosed or dismissed entirely. Like most health issues that primarily affect women, endo is historically understudied. Not to mention, it is often diagnosed via exploratory surgery, which can be prohibitively expensive for people who are uninsured or underinsured.
But thanks to endo advocates like Irwin, more people are learning about this condition.
Irwin first opened up about battling endometriosis back in March.
Irwin first opened up about getting diagnosed with endometriosis this March. In an emotional Instagram post, she revealed that she’d undergone a successful surgery to remove the tissue that was causing her pain.
“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,” she wrote. “To cut a long story short, they found 37 lesions, some very deep & difficult to remove, & a chocolate cyst.”
For Irwin, getting diagnosed with endo was life-changing in and of itself.
“Validation for years of pain is indescribable,” Irwin continued. “My family & friends who have been on this journey with me for 10+ years — THANK YOU, for encouraging me to find answers when I thought I’d never climb out. Thank you to the doctors and nurses who believed my pain. I’m on the road to recovery & the gratitude I feel is overwhelming.”
Source: Read Full Article