Abnormal Menstrual Bleeding Could Be A Symptom Of Von Willebrand Disease

If you have heavy menstrual bleeding that cannot be explained by other causes or have a family history of a bleeding disorder, your doctor may evaluate you for von Willebrand disease. The condition is a blood coagulation disorder characterized by a deficiency in the von Willebrand factor – a protein that contributes to the body's blood-clotting process.

It helps to understand menstrual blood problems and possible pregnancy complications associated with von Willebrand disease. Knowing how to recognize symptoms of the disorder, what the treatments are, and the potential complications if you get pregnant can help you manage the disease.

Menstrual Cycle

A common inherited bleeding disorder among adult women and adolescent females in this country, reports show that von Willebrand disease causes heavy menstrual bleeding in 74 to 92 percent of women who have the disorder.

Heavy menstrual bleeding is described as:

  • Heavy flowing of blood or gushing bleeding that interferes with your normal daily activities

  • The need to change your sanitary napkin every hour or more

  • Bleeding that requires getting up through the night to change sanitary napkins

  • Passing blood clots that are larger than a quarter in size

  • Bleeding that continues for more days than the average period, which normally lasts for three to five days

  • Bleeding between periods

Common Symptoms

In addition to prolonged and heavy menstrual periods, other symptoms of von Willebrand disease include:

  • Bruising easily

  • Profuse bleeding when you cut yourself, even from minor cuts

  • Frequent nose bleeds

  • Bleeding gums

  • Blood in your stool or urine

  • History of iron deficiency anemia (low iron levels)

  • Excessive bleeding following dental or surgical procedures


Treatment for abnormal menstrual bleeding varies depending on the severity of your symptoms. Hormone therapy in the form of contraceptives is effective for some women, but fails to reduce heavy menstrual flow in others.

Other treatments available include medications to slow the breakdown of clotting factors. The administration of synthetic hormones by injection or through a nasal spray is a treatment option that stimulates the release of more von Willebrand factors present in the lining of the blood vessels. If you have severe von Willebrand disease, you may need blood-clotting factors administered intravenously.

Pregnancy/Childbirth Complications

When trying to get pregnant with von Willebrand disease, while you may not have trouble conceiving, there are factors you should consider when planning for a successful pregnancy. Potential obstetrical complications if you have von Willebrand disease include:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage, particularly during the first trimester

  • Excessive bleeding during delivery

  • Bleeding caused by epidural anesthesia

  • Heavy postpartum bleeding

In these cases, medication or transfusion of factor concentrates may be needed. Also, since your infant has up to a 50 percent chance of inheriting your bleeding disorder, doctors should avoid the use of instruments during delivery whenever possible. The use of forceps or vacuum extraction to help move your baby through the birth canal can lead to injuries that may cause bleeding for you and your infant both. Contact a company like Desert Rose OBGYN PC for more information.

About Me

Learning About Birthing Options

Hi there, my name is Rebecca Ulman. Welcome to my website. I am here to talk to you about the birthing process from start to finish. I placed my trust in my OBGYN while pregnant with my first child. The doctor provided the knowledge and support I needed to complete a natural birth. Although I chose this option for myself, there are many other ways to approach the birthing process. I will use this site to talk about the different birthing options I had to choose from. I will talk about the various ways my OBGYN provided support throughout this process. Please come by often to learn more.