Bleeding Disorders in Women
Heavy blood flow during menstrual periods can be a sign of a bleeding disorder. Talk to your doctor.
A bleeding disorder is a condition that keeps your blood from clotting properly. Women are more likely to notice the symptoms of a bleeding disorder because of heavy or prolonged bleeding during their menstrual periods and after childbirth.
Heavy bleeding is one of the most common problems women report to their doctors. It affects more than 10 million American women each year. This means that about one out of every five women has heavy menstrual bleeding. A CDC study found that bleeding disorders were diagnosed in nearly 11% of women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
Women and Bleeding Disorders: Living with von Willebrand Disease
Meet three women and hear about their experiences living with von Willebrand Disease (VWD). Learn about the signs and symptoms of VWD and why it’s important to seek help with any questions or concerns about abnormal bleeding. Watch the video >>
Signs and Symptoms of a Bleeding Disorder
- I have heavy menstrual periods, such as:
- Bleeding for more than 7 days from the time bleeding begins before it completely stops.
- Flooding or gushing of blood that limits daily activities such as housework, exercise, or social activities.
- Passing clots that are bigger than a quarter.
- Changing a tampon or pad, possibly even both, every hour or more often on heaviest day(s).
- I have been told I am "low in iron" or I have received treatment for anemia.
- I have experienced prolonged bleeding episodes such as:
- After dental surgery, other surgery, or childbirth;
- Frequent nose bleeds (longer than 10 minutes);
- Bleeding from cuts or injury (longer than 5 minutes); or
- Easy bruising (weekly, raised, and larger than a quarter in size).
- I have one or more of the bleeding symptoms above and someone in my family has a bleeding disorder such as von Willebrand disease or a clotting factor deficiency such as hemophilia.
If you have one or more signs of a bleeding disorder, talk with your doctor.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you have one or more of the signs and symptoms, please talk with your doctor or other health care professional who can refer you to a specialized healthcare center to diagnose, prevent and reduce complications experienced by people with certain blood disorders. At these centers a team of experienced healthcare professionals work together to diagnose and treat people with rare or complex medical conditions. Visit Blood Disorders Research and Treatment Centers website to locate a treatment center.
Bleeding disorders can be dangerous if they are not treated. Women with untreated bleeding disorders may face serious risks after childbirth, dental surgery, other surgery, or injury.
Bleeding disorders are common among women. But, many women do not know that they can get help for it. Others do not get help because they are too embarrassed to talk with a doctor about their problem. Talking openly with your doctor is very important in making sure you are diagnosed properly and get the right treatment.
- Women and Bleeding Disorders: Living with von Willebrand Disease
- Heavy Periods Brochure [PDF - 244KB]
- CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Bleeding and Clotting Disorders in Women page.
- National Hemophilia Foundation or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call1-800-42-HANDI.
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s guidelines for diagnosing and treating von Willebrand Disease
- Blood Disorders
- Page last reviewed: November 9, 2015
- Page last updated: November 9, 2015
- Content source:
- National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Blood Disorders
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs