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Bindi Irwin undergoes major surgery after secret 10-year health battle

The Wildlife Warrior had 37 lesions and a cyst removed during the 'scary' surgery.

Bindi Irwin has just undergone major surgery after a secret 10-year battle with endometriosis. The chronic illness has caused the 24-year-old “insurmountable fatigue, pain and nausea”.

The Wildlife Warrior penned an emotional post about her health issues on Instagram, hoping to spread awareness and provide “validation” to anybody who is struggling. While she found the idea of surgery "scary", she was grateful to now be in recovery.

L: Bindi Irwin at Australia Zoo. R: Bindi Irwin in the hospital after having surgery
Bindi Irwin has opened up about her health battle. Photo: Instagram/bindsueirwin

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of your uterus grows elsewhere. Australia's Department of Health and Aged Care states that it can cause 'debilitating pain', and notes that it "affects at least one in nine girls and women and those assigned female at birth".

According to John Hopkins Medicine, endometriosis tissue is usually found in the pelvic area but can appear in other parts of the body such as the intestines and bladder.

Alongside a snap of herself lying in a hospital bed after surgery, Bindi opened up about the entire process in the caption.

“Dear Friends, I battled for a long time wondering if I should share this journey with you in such a public space. It came down to the responsibility I feel to share my story for other women who need help,” she began.

“For 10 years I’ve struggled with insurmountable fatigue, pain and nausea. Trying to remain a positive person and hide the pain has been a very long road…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.”

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The mum of one added that she was urged to seek help by close friend Leslie Mosier, the influencer behind Doug The Pug, who has also been open about her own journey with the chronic condition. Bindi said that she chose to undergo surgery as she couldn’t continue living with such intense pain.

“To cut a long story short, they found 37 lesions, some very deep and difficult to remove, and a chocolate [endometriotic] cyst. [The doctor’s] first words to me when I was in recovery were, ‘How did you live with this much pain?’,” she wrote.

Robert Irwin speaks out: 'Too many people endure this in silence'

Bindi thanked her family and friends for supporting her throughout her health journey as well as the health professionals who ‘believed her pain’ was real.

Her long road to a diagnosis of endometriosis isn’t that uncommon, as sufferers are often told that the issue is in their heads, or similar to Bindi’s case, are told it’s just something you need to live with.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, once a patient experiences onset symptoms, it takes an average of seven years before they receive an official diagnosis.

The Wildlife Warrior was praised by her family and celebrity pals for shining a light on the disease, with Robert Irwin saying he was “so proud” of his older sister.

“I’m so happy you can have your life back. Endometriosis is a horrible, crippling disease and too many women endure this in silence, or are never even diagnosed. Bindi, your story of resilience is a beacon for women around the world who are suffering — and it’s a wake up call for men too,” he wrote.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to be allies for women’s health and help spread awareness.”

Terri Irwin, Robert Irwin, Bindi Irwin, Chandler Powell and Grace Warrior on a staircase
Robert told fans to "spread awareness" about the "crippling disease". Photo: Instagram/robertirwinphotography

Bindi’s plea: 'Please be gentle'

Bindi also urged people to be kind and “gentle” when bringing up the topic of pregnancy, as having endometriosis can make it harder to conceive naturally.

“Things may look fine on the outside looking in through the window of someone’s life, 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,” she said.

“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.”

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City Fertility nurse manager Jam Rodriguez tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the disease can “decrease a person’s chance of spontaneous conception.”

The clinic welcomes many patients with endometriosis seeking advice about fertility, and she says that technology to detect the disease has advanced. While a laparoscopy or keyhole surgery was traditionally needed for a diagnosis, patients can now have pelvic ultrasounds instead.

“It’s hard to say whether there is an increase in endometriosis patients over the last few years [at City Fertility]. There certainly is more awareness nowadays of what endometriosis is, leading to more people being diagnosed with it,” Jam says.

“Patients are more medically savvy and not afraid to seek help and get answers regarding their symptoms.”

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