Periods, though important in a lot of ways, are still a major nuisance for most women.
They’re painful, messy, and, at first, kind of alarming — especially if you’re seeing a color that you didn’t expect.
The one thing that periods have going for them is that they’re usually pretty predictable. They usually show up once a month, a reminder that all is functioning as normal down below.
But for one young woman now living in Perth, Australia, her period was anything but normal.
In fact, once Chloe Christos started her first period as a young teenager, it didn’t stop after a week or so. Instead, her period just kept coming for five years.
It wasn’t until Christos was 19 that doctors finally solved the mystery behind her never-ending period.
Scroll through below to learn more about the condition that caused Christos to keep bleeding, and what she’s doing now to make sure other girls know the signs.
Chloe Christos started getting her period at age fourteen, much like most girls.
But for Christos, her first period wasn’t something she grew accustomed to getting once a month.
Instead, it was a never-ending nightmare that lasted for the next five years.
Christos tells DailyMail, “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.”
If you’re squeamish, you may not want to know the next part: Christos was losing about a pint of blood every four days from her excessive bleeding.
A pint is 16 ounces. For comparison, most women lose about 2 ounces of blood during a period, with the extreme maximum around 3 ounces.
For five long years, her life was essentially at a standstill, held hostage by her period.
She struggled to find a diagnosis, and explains on her GoFundMe page that doctors often didn’t take her complaints seriously, writing them off as ‘women’s troubles.’
“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.”
When she was 19, Christos finally found a doctor who took her seriously and was able to diagnose her problem.
She learned that she had Von Willebrand’s disease, an inherited bleeding disorder, and that she also had some of the proteins associated with hemophilia.
These conditions make it harder and slower for the body to clot and stop bleeding.
Facebook / Chloe Christos
Getting a diagnosis didn’t solve Christos’ problem. Now 27 years old, the stylist and artist is just getting a handle on how to treat her condition.
She was given iron supplements for her anemia, and went on a medication that would help her clot for 12 hours. But it needed to be taken constantly, and it didn’t always work.
As a teen, one doctor gave her the option of having a hysterectomy, but she didn’t want to lose her ability to have children before she’d even had a chance to think about it.
Finally, she reached out to an hemophilia center for an experimental medicine that is mostly only given to men with clotting disorders.
She injects it herself once a month, and so far, the effects have been remarkable.
For the first time in her life, she has normal periods. As she put it to DailyMail, “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.
Now, with a solution that lets her lead a normal life, Christos is putting her newfound extra time and energy into helping women all over the world find diagnoses and treatments for similar conditions.
As she explained to LittleThings, “I will make contributions any time I can to help educate and make the world aware, to avoid someone else standing in my shoes.”
If you’d like to learn more about Christos’ work to raise awareness about blood disorders, check out her GoFundMe page here.
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