Frendo is a community of endometriosis sufferers, providing peer-to-peer connection, screening and a support network in the palm of users’ hands.
Frendo provides endometriosis patients – and those with suspected symptoms – with credible resources, helping users to manage their symptoms, find alternative treatment options and seek advice on how to talk to loved ones about endo, as well as improve their general wellbeing while living with a chronic illness.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I created Frendo, really out of my own distress and frustration at the system and its lack of understanding, for the 1 in 9 of us suffering from the very debilitating and painful chronic disease. It took more than 18 years for my diagnosis and, sadly, this isn’t uncommon.
During this diagnosis delay we experience misdiagnoses, dismissiveness and rejection as a result of medical arrogance, all the while the progression rate of the disease worsens; ravaging our organs, chronically invading our relationships, penalising our careers due to ill health and suppressing our fertility.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows outside it in other parts of the body. Essentially, it’s a chewing gum-like structure that can stick organs together and to other parts of the body causing a great deal of pain.
The average diagnosis delay for endometriosis varies from 7 to 11 years and when you consider the fact that 1 in 9 people with periods will experience this disease in their lifetime, there needs to be more done to help this community. We need to hold our medical system accountable and force them to really educate themselves on endometriosis and other reproductive diseases, continue speaking up and make them aware of the trauma caused by multiple misdiagnoses as a result of the long diagnosis delays.
Frendo is far more than an app – it’s a lifeline for those who want to share their experiences and seek support from others, reducing the isolation that so many feel in those years waiting for answers.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
Frendo was born in 2020 – slap bang in the middle of the pandemic. We were all set to launch the app just as the pandemic hit, and initially, I was disappointed with the delay. However, we tried to use the delay to our advantage – we had time to listen.
Through discussion with our community around the further isolation felt through delayed diagnostic laparoscopies, cancelled specialist appointments and distress with the lack of knowledge of when their delayed treatment appointments would eventually happen, we ultimately heard that people were longing for that peer-to-peer connection of a community now more than ever.
Users also needed the means to be able to track and manage their disease themselves as much as possible. As a result, we developed the tracker and insights features further, the components that allow the user to diarise their symptoms and push back helpful reminders and information to aid their illness on an ongoing basis. If anything, the pandemic gave us the time to delve into the features that were most important to sufferers even further.
What can we hope to see from Frendo in the future?
At Frendo, we believe education is the key, raising awareness in schools of the disease that affects 1 in 9 is vital. I want education and screening of endometriosis and other reproductive health conditions to be implemented into school curriculums, third-level colleges and universities, so that we can start talking about the disease more openly and support sufferers with taking action early.
It’s simple, the earlier young girls and people who are at the early stages of periods are made aware of the symptoms, the sooner they can seek help in getting a diagnosis, break the cycle and potentially reduce the progression rate of the disease. That’s certainly the end goal for us and something I know we can achieve as our community grows.