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The impact of heavy periods on women with a bleeding disorder

Authors
  • Sugg, Nicola
  • Morgan, Debra
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of Haemophilia Practice
Publisher
Sciendo
Publication Date
May 02, 2021
Volume
8
Issue
1
Pages
15–31
Identifiers
DOI: 10.17225/jhp00173
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Community Focus
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundWomen with a bleeding disorder (WBD), including those diagnosed as a carrier, often have heavy periods associated with prolonged bleeding and pain. This survey sought to describe the impact of this substantial burden on daily living and the personal cost of managing heavy periods.MethodsAn online survey was promoted to women who identify as having a bleeding disorder via the social media of The Haemophilia Society in January and February 2020. The survey included 20 questions about personal data, symptoms and the practicalities of living with a bleeding disorder.ResultsA total of 181 responses were received, of which 151 were complete questionnaires. Of these, 58% of respondents were aged 18–45 and 136 identified as having a bleeding disorder, mostly haemophilia or von Willebrand disease. Thirteen (10%) had been diagnosed as a haemophilia carrier and a further four women were probable carriers. Prolonged or painful periods were reported by the majority of respondents; the median duration of bleeding was 7 days (range 2–42). Thirty-six per cent took time off work or study as a result and 42% reported a negative impact on social life. Eighteen women (13%) reported having to use a combination of sanitary protection products to manage their bleeding. Women diagnosed as a carrier reported morbidity comparable with that of women with a diagnosed bleeding disorder and reported greater use of combinations of sanitary protection.ConclusionWBD experience a high prevalence of heavy bleeding and prolonged, painful periods despite using appropriate symptomatic treatment. The impact of heavy periods on women diagnosed as a being a carrier is comparable with that experienced by women with a diagnosed bleeding disorder, but as they are not always clinically recognised they may lack access to care and support.

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