1 in 5 of women with heavy periods will have an underlying bleeding disorder 2 weeks ago

1 in 5 of women with heavy periods will have an underlying bleeding disorder

A really surprising statistic.

One out of every five women with heavy periods will have an underlying bleeding disorder.

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That's according to the Irish Haemophilia Society which is trying to raise awareness of Von Willebrand Disorder or VWD and its warning signs.

Since the pandemic, those with underlying health conditions have been deemed high-risk if infected with Covid-19, yet studies have revealed interesting findings with regard to those living with this bleeding disorder.

VWD affects both men and women and is the most common inherited bleeding disorder with approximately 1 in 1,000 of the population being affected.

In men or children, easy bruising or frequent, heavy nosebleeds may be the first sign of a bleeding disorder.

The most common warning sign for women is heavy periods, and one in five of those with heavy periods will have an underlying bleeding disorder.

In VWD, the von Willebrand protein is lower than normal in the blood. Normal levels are above 50 per cent, while in VWD, levels are below 30 per cent.

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It can be difficult to tell if menstrual bleeding is heavy. Comparing yourself to other women in the family can be misleading as they, too, may also have low VWF levels or VWD without knowing it.

The following should alert a woman to a potential problem

  • Bleeding which lasts longer than seven days, requires you to change pads or menstrual cup every two hours or passing clots larger than a €1 coin
  • Unpredictable bleeding
  • Menstrual bleeding which affects daily activity (needing time off work / school)

Both men and women with VWD can experience prolonged or heavy bleeding after dental procedures, surgery or trauma.

Any person who believes some of these signs of an underlying bleeding disorder apply to them should, in the first instance, contact their GP who will refer them for specialised testing at the National Coagulation Centre for adults or Children’s Hospital Ireland at Crumlin for Children, if needed.

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