Bindi Irwin says doctors ignored her endometriosis pain for a decade

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month; condition affects about 200 million women worldwide

Bindi Irwin — best known as the daughter of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin — recently opened up about her endometriosis and how her symptoms were dismissed by doctors. Irwin said she experienced “intense symptoms” from when she first started menstruating.

“It was getting more and more concerning as to what the real problem was and if we would ever find the cause,” she told via email. “Doctors would chalk it up to hormones and being a young woman, and I was often told that it was just the stress of life, and I should work on my mental health.”

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can cause pain in the pelvic area and make it difficult to get pregnant. The disease typically starts at a person’s first menstrual cycle and can last until menopause.

Irwin, like 90% of women who suffer from the disease, was misdiagnosed and told it was “all in her head.”

“This was incredibly disheartening and actually caused me a lot of anxiety and depression as I was constantly in pain with no answers for what was wrong with me,” said told “It was very easy to believe doctors, and I actually gave up searching for answers.”

After 10 years, Irwin underwent surgery last year and finally found relief.

According to the Alliance for Endometriosis, women have reported being “disbelieved, dismissed or ignored by others at least monthly” when discussing their symptoms.

Here are six symptoms of endometriosis you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Dysmenorrhea, which is pelvic pain between periods
  • Dyspareunia, which is pain during sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal periods
  • Pain in the lower back, abdomen or groin
  • Painful bowel or urinary disorder

According to the Cleveland Clinic, endometriosis can develop in a few places other than the uterus, like the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, intestines, rectum, vagina and diaphragm.

The disease is an idiopathic condition, meaning there is no known cause. However, experts suspect there might be a connection between family history and suggest discussing it with your family and a doctor.

Treatment can vary depending on the severity of the disease, ranging from medications to surgery. Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing any symptoms of endometriosis or have any questions.