Chloe Christos is now advocating equal rights for women with bleeding disorders
Having a period for five days a month can be a nightmare that leaves you doubled up in pain and completely exhausted, so spare a thought for Chloe Christos, an Australian woman who was on her period for five years, due to a rare condition.
The 27-year-old art director and stylist, was on her period from the ages of 14-19 and this meant round-the-clock care from her mum, and having her teen years severely impacted.
While on average, women loose between 20 and 60 millimetres of blood each month, with anything of 80ml being considered heavy, Chloe was loosing more than 500ml – half a litre of blood.
‘I couldn’t do anything,’ she told the Daily Mail Australia. ‘I was fainting a lot, I had dangerously low blood pressure, and it wasn’t really a good idea for me to drive or go out. I really love being physically active, and that is what was most frustrating for me. Every single day I was in the sick bay at my school.’
Chloe soon developed severe anemia and not even weekly iron transfusions could keep her levels stable.
At 19 she was diagnosed with an inherited bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand disease, meaning it takes longer for her blood to clot, but despite treatment, she still continued to suffer seven years of side effects, as the synthetic drug would only stop the bleeding for 12 hours at a time.
Her plight for other treatments was so unfruitful, it was even suggested that she undergo a hysterectomy, which she declined.
Finally, Chloe was prescribed a drug for men who suffer from haemophilia, and in less than one month after starting treatment, she had a period that lasted just four to five days.
‘It’s the difference between being hospitalized for two weeks of the month and taking two paracetamol and having a heat pack for one day,’ she said.
Now Chloe is campaigning for better understanding for women with blood disorders. She says she faced a lot of discrimination because many believe that only men suffer from hemophilia.
‘When needing assistant to help control severe bleeding episodes that there is a great lack of education and awareness about bleeding disorders and that they can happen amongst women,’ she wrote on her GoFundMe page.
‘I found it particularly hard at times for even doctors to treat me equally when presenting at emergency rooms and being refused treatment altogether because I’m either a female or not taken seriously, and still do to this day.’
She added: ‘Getting the right diagnosis first of all is an issue in itself. Helping people find an adequate treatment plan, that’s another thing.’