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).
INFORMATION VWD >