Bindi Irwin ‘Would Hardly Look in the Mirror’ During Painful Endometriosis Battle: ‘It Rules Your Existence’

In the depths of her excruciating battle with endometriosis, Bindi Irwin could hardly even look at herself. The conservationist and mom of one, who received the Blossom Award from the Endometriosis Foundation of America at the foundation’s annual Blossom Ball on May 3, gave SheKnows a glimpse into the her painful battle with the reproductive condition and revealed why she chose to share her journey publicly.

“[Endometriosis] affects so much more than just people that are on their period,” Irwin told SheKnows on the Blossom Ball red carpet. “This is this is so much bigger. It’s your life. It’s your family, it’s your job, it’s your joy in every day. I mean, endometriosis takes the driver’s seat, and it rules your existence. And it’s heartbreaking that so many people have to walk with this disease taking over their every moment.”

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, on places like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic tissues — sometimes even growing in other areas of the body, per Mayo Clinic. It can lead to fertility issues, ovarian cysts, bloating, and extreme pain, especially during periods.

For Irwin, the pain was debilitating. “I would hardly look in the mirror, because I felt like such a shadow of myself,” she recalled. “It was almost like this feeling of of, I didn’t want to see the person looking back at me because I didn’t have the answers. And maybe it was in my head and what’s wrong with me? Why am I feeling this way?”

The Crikey! It’s the Irwins star continued, “When you don’t know what’s happening within your own body, it’s very easy to feel like you’re drowning in that pain, in that fatigue and nausea and IBS symptoms and everything you can imagine.” In a speech at the event, Irwin explained that “all I could see was the pain, and I felt like I had lost myself.”

Irwin first went public with her diagnosis in March 2023 in an emotional Instagram post, revealing that she’d “struggled with insurmountable fatigue, pain, and nausea” for ten years. Recalling what compelled her to speak out, Irwin told SheKnows, “I shared my story days after I had surgery for endometriosis. I was recovering and in a fair amount of pain.” As she healed, Irwin reflected on “everything that had to happen to lead me to the moment of getting surgery: the huge winding journey, the years of unanswered questions, undiagnosed problems, and people just throwing words and tests and everything my way.”

One doctor, Irwin wrote in her Instagram post, told her the pain was “simply something you deal with as a woman.” It wasn’t until Irwin’s friend, Leslie Mosier, recommended she get checked for endometriosis that the conservationist finally started to get answers, but the pain and confusion she went through to get there “made me want to share my story in hopes that maybe someone would read about it and say, ‘her symptoms sounds similar to mine,’” Irwin reflected. Endometriosis affects 10 percent of women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, but often goes undiagnosed — meaning that millions of people are suffering in silence. Irwin hoped that by speaking out, she could help some of those people “get help sooner than I did.”

While receiving her award at the Blossom Ball, Irwin shared that having surgery — during which doctors removed 37 lesions and a cyst on her ovary, according to People — changed her life. “I feel like I’m gaining my sense of self again,” Irwin said in her speech. “For years, hugs hurt and my pain took away my sense of humor and joy. Laughing hurt… I asked my husband [Chandler Powell] the other day, ‘Have you always been this funny?’ My poor husband, he’s so wonderful. He laughed out loud. And then I started laughing because the reality had finally set in that I’m able to revel in life again.”

She continued, “I’m realizing that I am so much more than my pain, and that’s something we all have to remember.”

Knowing that she could help others in the same position pushed Irwin to become the advocate she is today. “I really wanted people to read my story and have that hope and that sense of validation that if you are in pain, you so completely deserve to get help,” she told SheKnows. “You deserve to have somebody say, ‘It’s going to be OK, and I’m going to help you find answers.’ I had my family to do that — my mom and my brother, they were there reminding me of everything that was important in life and I’m so grateful for that. But it took a long time, and nobody deserves to feel like that.”

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