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-- Common Questions About Bleeding Disorders
  What's a Bleeding Disorder?
  Do I Have a Bleeding Disorder?
  What's von Willebrand Disease?
  Can Women and Girls Have Hemophilia?
  More Information on von Willebrand Disease
  I Think I Have a Bleeding Disorder


   NHF > Project Red Flag > Common Questions > What's von Willebrand Disease?

Common Questions About Bleeding Disorders

What's von Willebrand Disease?

von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common bleeding disorder in women and girls (1% to 2% of the population or, approximately 1.4 to 2.8 million nationwide). VWD, which is genetically transmitted from generation to generation, is caused by a defect or deficiency of an essential blood clotting protein called von Willebrand factor.

Symptoms of VWD include heavy menstrual periods, frequent or prolonged nosebleeds, easy bruising and prolonged bleeding following injury, surgery, child birth or dental work.

Even though the symptoms of VWD are caused by a problem with the blood, it is frequently misdiagnosed as a gynecologic problem by doctors who are not familiar with the condition. In fact, it is thought that many of the over 30,000 women who

have hysterectomies performed to treat severe bleeding every year might actually have a bleeding disorder.

There is no cure for VWD, but it can be treated effectively. Treatment includes birth control pills, desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) and certain clotting factor concentrates containing von Willebrand factor. DDAVP comes in two forms: an injectable form and a concentrated nasal spray (it is very easy to learn how to self-administer either form of DDAVP).







Project Red Flag - For Women with Bleeding Disorders National Hemophilia Foundation