Periods are a part of any woman’s life, and they can be messy and painful, but you definitely can’t avoid them. Young girls are taught and warned by their moms about menstrual cycles. The mood swings, the irritation, the nuisance and the body aches are all part of a package deal. But the only certainty women have about their period is its predictable nature, that is, they come every month and last about a week. That one week becomes so frustrating and achy that one can’t help but wish and hope that it never comes again or just goes away in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, this monthly occurrence ensures that everything down there is working normally or that you’re not pregnant.If you thought that dealing with your period for one week out of the whole month was unbearable, how would you feel about having one that lasts for five continuous years? It happened to Chloe Christi, who had her first period when she was 14. But what she thought as a regular phenomenon turned out to be her worst nightmare.
After her period wouldn’t stop, the young stylist and art director was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand disease, an inherited bleeding disorder. People suffering from this condition have a problem with the protein in their blood that helps control bleeding, meaning it takes longer for blood to clot and for bleeding to stop. She also had certain proteins in her system that were associated with Hemophilia.
Despite the diagnosis, Chloe continued to suffer. She told Daily Mail Australia, “Day to day my life was literally being cared for by my mother. I couldn’t do anything. 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.”
Through the course of an average menstrual period, a woman loses around 20 to 60 ml of blood. But in Chloe’s case, the bleeding was way more than expected. She lost around half a liter blood in just four days. Such an adverse condition had a profound effect on Chloe, physically as well as mentally. The now 27-year-old explained, “I knew it wasn’t quite right, but I was also embarrassed to talk about it. I felt very different and pretty alone.”
The Australian teen then started taking a synthetic drug to treat her condition. The drug targeted the low factor levels in her blood, but her state didn’t improve. The drug stopped her bleeding for 12 hours but as soon as it wore off the bleeding would start again. So she stopped taking the drug.
Witnessing her severe condition, doctors suggested she undergo a hysterectomy. Chloe declined because she wanted the ability to have children in the future. So she wanted to look for other treatment options.
After going through several treatments, she finally reached out to a hemophilia center in Adelaide. At the center, she was prescribed a blood product which was usually given to men suffering from hemophilia. This treatment worked well for her and soon she had her first regular periods that lasted just 4 to 5 days.
Having experienced the condition herself and understanding the dilemma of other women going through the same condition, Chloe decided to spread awareness for the disease. She now advocates for equal rights to quality of care and access to treatment for women with bleeding disorders globally.
Chloe Christi started a ‘Go Fund Me’ page where she shared her journey, her experiences and also the discrimination that she faced while undergoing treatment. She even hoped for the Australian government to fund a project for women with bleeding disorders. https://www.gofundme.com/worldcongress
She wrote on her page, “When needing assistance to help control severe bleeding episodes, there is a great lack of education and awareness about bleeding disorders and that they can happen amongst women.” She further wrote, “This has been mostly due to a lack of knowledge and awareness and this happens all over the world.”