Your period feels bad enough when it spans five days, but can you imagine the darn thing lasting five years?
27-year-old Chloe Christos suffered that unlucky fate. She has a bleeding disorder, Von Willebrand disease, which prevents her blood from clotting properly, and caused her period to last for a staggering five years when she first started menstruating at 14 years old.
Chloe, who's from Perth in Australia, told the Daily Mail how her constant blood loss (she'd lose approximately half a litre every four days) left her very ill. To put it into context, the average woman loses between 20 and 60 milliliters of blood during her period—roughly 10 times less than Chloe—with a "heavy bleed" being classified as anything more than 80ml.
"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," she said.
"Day to day my life was literally being cared for by my mother."
When her period just didn't stop, Chloe recalls realizing that "it wasn't quite right, but I was also embarrassed to talk about it," in an interview with ABC.
In order to counteract her disorder, Chloe was given a synthetic drug, which would stop the bleeding for 12 hours, but as soon as it began to wear off, the bleeding would begin again. When she finally stopped taking the drug, after seven years, Chloe found that her problem only worsened.
But thankfully, after contacting a hemophilia centre in Adelaide, Chloe began taking blood product usually offered to men suffering from hemophilia (another, even more severe blood clotting disorder).
And it worked. After taking it at the beginning of her cycle, now Chloe experiences what we'd identify as a "normal" period, lasting between four and five days.
So although she's got to deal with usual dragging symptoms of a period (increased intake in ice cream, foul moods, etc) she's found a long-term solution to her constant bleeding. And that's invaluable.
Chloe is now campaigning for women with bleeding disorders globally to access equal rights to quality of care, and is raising money via a GoFundMe page to help her travel to the World Congress in Orlando, to help make that ambition happen. GO YOU, Chloe.
This article orginally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.