When you have been struggling for all of your adult life with heavy menstrual periods, you may think that this is just the way things are for every woman. However, if you have extremely heavy flows that affect your daily life and prevent you from being able to live your life normally, you may have a condition known as Von Willebrand disease. If your gynecologist or ob/gyn gives you a diagnosis of Von Willebrand disease, you need to get to know more about this disorder as well as what to expect for your overall and reproductive health in the future.
Understanding Von Willebrand Disease
Von Willebrand disease is a health condition of the blood that leads to extended periods of bleeding or excessive bleeding. Many times, the condition is something that people inherit and have all of their lives. Sometimes, it can actually develop later as well.
This disorder involves a lack of a protein needed in the blood for quick and effective blood clotting. As such, any small injury, even a paper cut, can lead to prolonged periods of bleeding. If a person has had Von Willebrand disease for all of their life, they may think that these bleeding episodes are normal.
Treating Von Willebrand Disease
Of course, excessive bleeding like this is not normal. And treatment is necessary to get Von Willebrand disease under control and to remain healthy and safe. The treatments for Von Willebrand disease involve various types of prescription drugs.
Sometimes, a person will benefit most from what are known as replacement therapies. These treatments use blood plasma that provides a concentrated dose of the clotting factors that are missing from the blood. There are also medications that are designed to stimulate the body to generate these clotting factors on their own and are often the preferred method of treatment if the person is responsive to them.
How The Disease And Treatments Affect Your Reproductive Health
When the reason you were diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease has to do with excessively heavy menstrual periods, one of your biggest priorities will be to get your monthly cycle better under control. Oral contraceptives can help with the management of this clotting disorder.
Intrauterine contracteptive devices can also help. The extra estrogen that these medications contain can help to stimulate your body to naturally make more of the needed clotting factors in the blood which will in turn reduce bleeding during menstruation.
Pregnancy with Von Willebrand disease may also be considered high risk. There is a higher than normal chance that a woman will have a miscarriage early in pregnancy. However, the hormones a woman produces when she is pregnant can help improve blood clotting, therefore protecting her and her growing child. Because the disorder is genetic, a careful delivery is necessary and testing during pregnancy should be used to determine whether or not the fetus also has Von Willebrand disease.
Now that you know more about Von Willebrand disease and how it can affect your overall and reproductive health, you can be sure to talk to your doctor if you have extremely heavy menstrual bleeding so that you can get the care and support you need going forward.