“For 10 years I struggled with insurmountable fatigue, pain and nausea,” Irwin, 24, wrote. “A doctor told me it was just something you deal with as a woman and I gave up completely, trying to function through the pain.”
A number of studies support the claim that women in pain are often not taken as seriously as men, The Washington Post reported in December. Studies show that the rejection of women’s pain can affect the treatment of a wide range of health conditions, including heart problems, strokes, chronic diseases and endometriosis, the report notes.
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Irwin said she debated whether to speak publicly about her experience, but felt she owed it to other women who were struggling to get help.
“I am sharing my story for anyone reading this who is quietly dealing with the pain and the lack of answers. May this be your validation that your pain is real and that you deserve help,” he said. -she adds.
Irwin said with the support of friends and family, she eventually found a diagnosis and underwent surgery. She said doctors found 37 lesions, some of which were “very deep and difficult to remove”, but she is now recovering.
Irwin’s post coincides with Endometriosis Awareness Month. The disease affects around 10% of women and girls of reproductive age worldwide, or 190 million people, according to the World Health Organization.
“The validation for years of pain is indescribable,” Irwin wrote.
Endometriosis develops when tissue resembling the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, usually around the reproductive organs, bowel, and bladder. The tissue triggers a chronic inflammatory response that can cause scar tissue and damage, according to the WHO.
Symptoms can include severe pelvic pain, fatigue, painful periods and urination, bloating, nausea and depression, according to the WHO. The disease can also cause infertility.
“The variable and broad symptoms of endometriosis mean that health workers do not diagnose it easily,” the WHO says, describing the disease as “complex” and calling for greater awareness.
There is no specific cause for the disease, and experts usually treat symptoms with medication or surgery.
“It’s endometriosis”: living with a chronic disease
In his Twitter post, Irwin also urged people not to ask women about their plans for children. “Please be kind and pause before you ask me (or any woman) when we’ll have more kids,” she wrote. “After everything my body has been through, I am extremely grateful that we have our beautiful daughter.”
Irwin gave birth to Grace Warrior in March 2021. She is married to Chandler Powell, a professional wakeboarder and environmentalist – who paid tribute to Irwin on Instagram on Tuesday, calling him his “inspiration”.
“Seeing how you walked through the pain of caring for our family and continuing our conservation work while absolutely riddled with endometriosis is something that will inspire me forever,” Powell wrote.
While Irwin occasionally appeared on television as a young girl alongside her father in documentaries, public interest in Irwin skyrocketed after her father was killed by a stingray while filming. on the Great Barrier Reef in 2006.
Lindsey Bever contributed to this report.