Bindi Irwin is sending some love back to her supportive fans following a difficult endometriosis diagnosis.
"I have spent the week reading your kind words and stories of strength through your own experiences with endometriosis," she wrote on March 14. "Thank you with all my heart for sharing. I can finally see a new me on the journey towards better health."
Irwin wrote that she can now, after having surgery to remove 37 endometriosis lesions and a chocolate cyst, focus her energy on both her family and their conservation work. "Sending my love and light your way," she added.
Earlier this month, the 24-year-old revealed that she had been diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition that affects as many as 11% of women and leads many to experience severe pain, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to that which makes up the lining of the uterus grows in other, abnormal places and forms lesions. Like endometrial tissue, this area thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle.
However, because it cannot escape through the uterus, it gets trapped and causes symptoms like painful periods, pain during sex, nausea, constipation, cramping, bloating and infertility over time, the Mayo Clinic reports.
For Irwin, she had experienced pain, exhaustion and nausea for 10 years before she reached a diagnosis. Typically, it takes an average of seven to 10 years for women to be diagnosed with the condition, health officials say.
“I’m sharing my story for anyone who reads this & is quietly dealing with pain & no answers. Let this be your validation that your pain is real & you deserve help,” she wrote in an Instagram post on March 7. “Keep searching for answers.”
In the same post, Irwin asked that people take a moment to think before asking her if she and her husband, Chandler Powell, have plans to expand their family. As of now, the couple shares daughter Grace, who turns 2 in March.
“Please be gentle & pause before asking me (or any woman) when we’ll be having more children,” she wrote.
Along with detailing her personal health journey, Irwin also made sure to note how fortunate she is to be a mother.
“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,” she wrote.