Bindi Irwin has opened up about her struggle living with undiagnosed endometriosis for years and revealed how much her life has changed since her diagnosis.
The 25-year-old endured more than 10 years of extreme fatigue, pain, and nausea without knowing what was wrong.
She underwent countless tests to try to figure out the cause of her pain before she was finally diagnosed with endometriosis last year.
Endometriosis is a common, but often undiagnosed, disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus.
It can cause debilitating symptoms including painful periods, heavy bleeding, and even in some cases infertility.
She went public in March about her private health battle after undergoing surgery and this week opened up about the ordeal of trying to get a diagnosis.
“Every tropical disease, Lyme disease, cancer, you name it. I had every blood test and scan imaginable,” she told People this week.
“It’s so hard because you feel like it’s inescapable,” she said.
“You don’t know what’s wrong with you, and then when people tell you ‘It’s all in your head’ or ‘you’re hormonal’ or ‘just have a cup of tea, lay down,’ you end up feeling so desperately alone because there’s no answers.”
Many women go years without a diagnosis, with high-profile sufferers, from premiers to actresses, now trying to spread awareness.
By sharing her experience, Bindi said she hoped other women might find “reassurance you are not alone”.
In August 2022, Bindi was pushed to undergo laparoscopy, a keyhole surgery that inspects the organs in the abdomen and pelvic region.
She said the procedure scared her because she worried it “wouldn’t find anything” and that she would have run out of tests.
Fortunately, the procedure proved a success and she got her answer: 37 cysts were found on her ovaries.
After specialised treatment, Bindi said she now felt like she had “a second chance at life (...) I feel brand new”.
“It’s not like a light switch, but every week I feel like I’m able to do a little bit more,” she said.
“Now I wake up in the morning, and I don’t have to take anti-nausea medicine or have my heat pack.
“Being able to go for a walk with my daughter and not feeling like I have to throw up in the bushes is just wild to me.”
What is endometriosis?
The chronic condition causes tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to grow outside of the organ. The tissue, which has been found on every major organ of the body, often spreads to the bowel and fallopian tubes, causing extreme pain, heavy bleeding, and in many cases, infertility.
There is no known cure.Despite an estimated one in nine people with uteruses in Australia suffering from the issue, it remains incredibly misunderstood and it’s notoriously difficult to get a diagnosis.
Research by Endometriosis Australia found it takes an average of 6.5 years to diagnose.
Women often recall being laughed out of hospitals, denied treatment or told nothing can be done.