What are the symptoms of haemophilia in females?
Examples of having a bleeding tendency or symptoms in females may include:
- Bruising easily
- Having more painful swelling and bruising than you would expect after an injury, eg falling off a bike, car accident, sporting injury
- Heavy and/or long periods. This is called heavy menstrual bleeding or sometimes abnormal uterine bleeding or menorrhagia. It can lead to low iron levels or anaemia
- Bleeding or oozing for a long time after dental surgery or extractions, other surgery and medical procedures, injuries or accidents
- Heavy bleeding for extended time after childbirth (particularly with delayed or late postpartum haemorrhage)
- Females with very low clotting factor levels may also have internal bleeding into joints, muscles, organs and soft tissues.
Heavy menstrual bleeding
Heavy periods or heavy menstrual bleeding can be difficult to define because what different girls and women call 'heavy' can vary. Doctors may also use the terms 'abnormal uterine bleeding' or 'menorrhagia'. These are some signs that menstrual bleeding is 'heavier' than average:
- Soaking through a tampon and pad around two hourly, or needing to change during the night
- Periods that last longer than 8 days
- Bleeding with clots bigger than a 50 cent piece in size.
Heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to anaemia (low red blood cell count/low blood iron levels), with symptoms of fatigue, paleness, lack of energy and shortness of breath.
Although these can be symptoms related to haemophilia, they can also be symptoms of a gynaecological disorder, so it is important to consult a gynaecologist.
With diagnosis and appropriate treatment, these bleeding problems can usually be reduced or managed.
Care and management
If you are a woman or girl with a bleeding disorder, a holistic or comprehensive care approach to your health care can help you to achieve better health and quality of life. Specialist gynaecological care over your lifetime is important to manage any gynaecological issues that occur. These may not be related to haemophilia, but in some cases the bleeding disorder may make the bleeding problems worse.
At times in their life, some symptomatic women may need to have gynaecological surgery or procedures. If this happens, it is important that this is managed in a team, with discussion between the woman, the Haemophilia Centre and the gynaecologist and/or surgeon.
Ideally your medical care team should work together on your health care and should include:
- A gynaecologist
- A haematologist specialising in bleeding disorders
- A GP
- A paediatrician or obstetrician, if relevant at the time.
Read our booklets for more information on bleeding symptoms, factor level testing and a treatment plan:
More comprehensive version
Haemophilia testing in women and girls: your questions answered
Download the fact sheets:
Haemophilia in females (PDF, 1.1 MB)