Bleeding disorders

As many as 1 in 10 women with heavy periods may have some type of bleeding disorder.[1]Dilley, A., Drews, C., Miller, C., Lally, C., Austin, H., Ramaswamy, D., et al. (2001). von Willebrand disease and other inherited bleeding disorders in women with diagnosed menorrhagia (link is external)Obstetrics & Gynecology, 97(4), 630–636. A person with a bleeding disorder will bleed for longer or bleed more than a person without a disorder following injury, surgery, childbirth etc. This is because their blood cells, known as platelets or blood proteins, known as clotting factors (essential for forming blood clots and stopping bleeding) are not working properly or there are not enough of them.

Potential bleedings disorders include:

  • Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD). This is the most common inherited bleeding disorder and affects between one and two per cent of the population.[2]Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children website. Last accessed 31 July 17
  • Haemophilia is a well-known bleeding disorder, but is rare. It usually runs in families and can affect both women and men. Women can ‘carry’ the haemophilia gene, so may not experience symptoms but pass it on to their children. Some women who are carriers have a mild or less serious form of haemophilia and are at risk of heavy bleeding and bleeding with pregnancy or after childbirth.

If you suffer from heavy bleeding and do not know the cause, it is important that you consult your GP. Read about how to get the most out of your GP appointment here.