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Bleeding Disorders in Women

Group of womenHeavy bleeding can signal a bleeding disorder. The sooner you know what you’re dealing with, the sooner you can take steps to manage it! Women with bleeding disorders may experience heavy, hard-to-stop bleeding, especially during or after surgery, dental procedures, and childbirth. The National Hemophilia Foundation’s Better You Know campaign funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides tools that can help you determine if you are at risk for a bleeding disorder.

What is excessive bleeding in women?

Women with excessive bleeding may experience heavy, hard-to-stop bleeding, especially during or after surgery, dental procedures, and childbirth. Some women may be diagnosed with menorrhagia, which is bleeding during a woman's period that lasts more than 7 days or bleeding that is very heavy. Menorrhagia can run in families and in some cases, a woman may not know she has excessive bleeding because women in her family may view heavy bleeding as "normal." Excessive bleeding may be caused by a bleeding disorder.

What bleeding disorders may be responsible for bleeding symptoms in women?

The most common bleeding disorder affecting women is von Willebrand disease. Hemophilia, another bleeding disorder is a rare condition that mainly affects men, but women who have the hemophilia gene mutation, called "carriers," can also have bleeding symptoms. Other rare bleeding disorders, as well as more common platelet function disorders, may also be responsible for bleeding symptoms in women.

How do I know if I have a bleeding disorder?

Signs and symptoms of bleeding disorders in women may include menorrhagia, frequent nosebleeds, two or more miscarriages, and heavy bleeding during or after dental procedures, surgery, and childbirth. Although rare, the bleeding can be so severe as to damage joints and internal organs, or even be life-threatening.

Better You Know, a website created through CDC's partnership with the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF), has tools for both women and men who may experience symptoms of a bleeding disorder, but have not yet been diagnosed. CDC also has resources on women's bleeding disorders. If you think you may have a bleeding disorder, you can fill out this questionnaire [126 KB] and use this chart [318 KB] to track your periods and discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider.

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 >> 

I've been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder. Where can I seek support?

Women with bleeding disorders are at increased risk for anemia (not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues of the body), pain during their periods, limitations in daily activities, time lost from work or school, and a reduced quality of life. Severe bleeding might require hospitalization and blood transfusions. Although there are no cures for bleeding disorders, treatment is available to control symptoms and help women avoid complications during procedures that may cause bleeding. Many resources are available for people with bleeding disorders. Some resources especially for women are

  • Blood Sisterhood is a peer network of women who support other women with bleeding disorders. It aims to further the conversation among women and ultimately improve health outcomes and quality of life for women with bleeding disorders.
  • Victory for Women is an initiative that provides a space for women in the bleeding disorders community to share creative expression of all kinds. It is a place where women in the community can express themselves, ask questions, share challenges, and make their voices heard.
  • Foundation for Women and Girls with Blood Disorders is an organization dedicated to education and awareness for both women with bleeding disorders and healthcare providers.
  • Steps for Living is an online, source of information for women affected by bleeding disorders in all stages of life.
  • HANDI is a resource center, sponsored by the NHF, which has staff dedicated to answering requests from people with bleeding disorders, family members, healthcare professionals and more.

For more information on women's bleeding disorders and additional resources, visit CDC's blood disorders in women webpage and the Better You Know campaign website.

Genes are inside all the cells of the body, and they contain the instructions for the development and functioning of all living things. The genes that a person inherits from his or her parents can determine many things. For example, genes affect what a person will look like and whether the person might have certain diseases. Hemophilia is caused by changes, called mutations, within several genes that control normal blood clotting.

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