(NEW YORK) — Bindi Irwin is opening up in her first TV interview since being diagnosed with endometriosis earlier this year, sharing her experience living with the pain before finding out about the condition.
In an interview that aired Friday on Good Morning America, the 25-year-old conservationist said her journey with the diagnosis has been “a long eight years.”
Beginning from her early years as a teenager, Irwin shared she had endured unexplainable pain such as fatigue, cramping, and nausea. However, after meeting the doctors at the time, they were not able to provide the reason behind those symptoms and often even dismissed her.
Attempting to look for answers, Irwin said she underwent a variety of tests including for cancer, MRIs, ultrasound, CT scans, and more.
“Every test, every scan that I went in for came back completely clean,” she said. “I was healthy. Nothing was wrong, which was just so strange. It was this feeling of devastation because there was no answer. There was no clarity [as] to why I was feeling this way. And the fact that every month it would just get worse and worse and worse.”
Despite living with the pain, the daughter of the late The Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin continued to move on with her life, hitting huge milestones including winning “Dancing with the Stars,” getting married and becoming a mom to Grace Warrior whom she shares with husband Chandler Powell.
During her pregnancy with Grace Warrior, who was born on March 25, 2021, Irwin recalled she often thought she was going through a miscarriage due to the physical agony she was experiencing at the time.
“It would just be excruciating pain in my side,” she said. “And I would think that I was losing our beautiful daughter…. I had no idea about what was happening. And so now I have answers.”
“But at the time I was terrified every day that I was going to lose our beautiful daughter,” she continued. “For me and Chandler, we’re so lucky to have Grace. So many women can’t fall pregnant because of problems with endometriosis.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines endometriosis as “a disease where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing pain and/or infertility.”
Research from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has shown 11% — or more than 6.5 million women ages 15 to 44 — suffer from endometriosis in the U.S. and many women diagnosed with the disease also have family members who also have the condition.
After undergoing a surgery to confirm her endometriosis earlier this year, Bindi explained her health has improved massively.
“It’s night and day,” she said. “It’s completely different. I am a new person and every day it seems to get better after surgery.”
Noting that the procedure was “extensive” and “took a long time to heal,” Irwin added it was worth the effort.
“And now I’m a completely new person. I’m actually able to go on a walk with my family. I’m able to do the conservation work that I am so, so passionate about,” she said. “I’m able to be there for our daughter. Finally, I’m able to run around with her, to play with her, to have fun and revel in her joy instead of just trying my best to pick her up and carry her and not just want to fall over or curl up.”
Discussing her goal of sharing her journey to the public, Irwin told GMA she hopes that others can find comfort in her story.
“Maybe my story resonates, that maybe if you’ve gone through undiagnosed, unbelievable pain. You will be able to say, ‘Hey, that girl has symptoms similar to mine. Maybe this is what’s wrong with me,"” she said.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.