QUEENSLAND, Australia — Bindi Irwin revealed on Instagram Tuesday that she had surgery for endometriosis after experiencing pain and other symptoms for the past decade.
The 24-year-old daughter of Steve Irwin said she was apprehensive to share her story publicly but wanted to help others who might be silently struggling, she said.
Endometriosis is a condition that affects an estimated 11% of women, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, in which uterine lining tissue grows outside the uterus. Symptoms include very painful cramps and fertility issues.
"Going in for surgery was scary but I knew I couldn’t live like I was," Irwin wrote. "Every part of my life was getting torn apart because of the pain."
Doctors found 37 lesions and an ovarian endometrioma or "chocolate cyst," Irwin said. She noted that some doctors initially dismissed her symptoms and she wanted to share her story to encourage other women who might be having trouble finding treatment.
"Let this be your validation that your pain is real & you deserve help," she said.
Irwin added that while things "may look fine on the outside looking in through the window of someone’s life," that isn't always the case.
"Please be gentle & 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," Irwin wrote.
Irwin and her husband, Chandler Powell, welcomed their daughter, Grace, nearly two years ago.
Powell posted a message of support for his wife.
"You are my inspiration to be as strong as I can be in every aspect of life. Seeing how you pushed through the pain to take care of our family and continue our conservation work while being absolutely riddled with endometriosis is something that will inspire me forever," he said. "The greatest gift of all is knowing that you’re out the other side of surgery totally free of endometriosis. I cannot wait to embark on this new chapter of life with you."