Von Willebrand disease in women: awareness and diagnosis.
Based on its pattern of inheritance, von Willebrand disease (VWD) is expected to affect an equal number of men and women. Clinically, however, more women are diagnosed with VWD than men because the bleeding symptoms associated with VWD are more readily apparent during menstruation and childbirth. Menorrhagia is one of the most common symptoms of VWD, and the prevalence of VWD is increased in women who present with menorrhagia. Other obstetric/gynaecological symptoms of VWD include haemorrhagic ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and postpartum haemorrhage. Awareness of VWD as a possible cause of menorrhagia is low among clinicians, including obstetricians and gynaecologists. Simple screening techniques can identify women who may have an underlying bleeding disorder. Several medical and surgical treatment options are available for menorrhagia, and the appropriate choice of therapy can be tailored to the individual needs of the patient. Adequate prophylaxis during surgery and childbirth may help to prevent bleeding complications in women with VWD.
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