shutterstock_91653506 © Courtesy of Canadian Hemophilia Society
Too many women have heard this ridiculous phrase from their doctor after reporting that they felt they were bleeding too much when menstruating: “Some women bleed more than others… Don’t worry about it, it’s normal.” Well, let’s be clear about this: it’s not.
But what is bleeding too much? What is normal versus abnormal bleeding?
Do you bleed seven days or more during your period? Do you change your pad or tampon every hour? Do you soak through your pants? Do you bruise easily? Do you suffer from prolonged bleeding after dental procedures?
If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may have a bleeding disorder. Aside from hemophilia, women with bleeding disorders tend to have more symptoms than men because of menstruation and childbirth. The most common inherited bleeding disorder, affecting up to one per cent of the population, is called von Willebrand disease.
This disorder is all too often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and the symptoms of heavy or prolonged menstrual periods are ignored. Women with an undiagnosed and untreated bleeding disorder risk serious complications that may even lead to unnecessary hysterectomies. Many of them may not understand if their bleeding is normal or abnormal and therefore do not seek help.
On average, it takes up to 16 years before a woman finally gets a diagnosis. After years of suffering, once diagnosed, effective treatment is available and a woman’s quality of life improves drastically. It is therefore critical to raise awareness about bleeding disorders so that accurate and timely diagnoses are provided to affected women.
Until a woman gets a proper diagnosis, her day-to-day life is a constant fight to be understood and her health condition be taken seriously.
You think you may bleed too much? Don’t wait any longer and dive in to know what is really happening!
Many tools are available to help you document your bleeding and provide stronger data to your doctor to request investigation:
- A menstrual assessment chart will help you quantify the blood loss during menstruation.
- A Self-BAT, self-administered bleeding assessment tool, may prove very useful as well to help you better understand whether current, or previous, bleeding episodes are normal or abnormal.
More information, tools and help can be found through the CODEROUGE initiative by the Canadian Hemophilia Society at bit.ly/coderougeEN.
About the Canadian Hemophilia Society
Founded in 1953, the Canadian Hemophilia Society (CHS) is a national voluntary health charity. Its mission is to advocate to improve the health and quality of life for all people in Canada living with an inherited bleeding disorder until cures are universally available. Its vision is a world free from the pain and suffering of inherited bleeding disorders.