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Congenital Bleeding Disorders in Women Underdiagnosed

Last Updated: June 04, 2009.

Obstetrician-gynecologists underdiagnose congenital bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease because they lack awareness of how to diagnose and manage such diseases, according to a study published online on June 1 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

THURSDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Obstetrician-gynecologists underdiagnose congenital bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease because they lack awareness of how to diagnose and manage such diseases, according to a study published online on June 1 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Andra H. James, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues in OB/GYN and hematology met to discuss the diagnosis and management of von Willebrand disease and other rare blood disorders, and to establish a consensus on recognition and treatment of such diseases.

In addition to reaching a consensus on treatments for menorrhagia in women with rare blood disorders, the investigators also clarified symptoms that should be looked for in women with menorrhagia. Signs of an underlying bleeding disorder include menorrhagia since menarche, a family history of a bleeding disorder, and one or more of a range of symptoms such as notable bruising without injury, minor wound bleeding, unexplained oral cavity or gastrointestinal tract bleeding, and unexpected post-surgical bleeding, they explained.

"Responding to these clues facilitates collaboration among obstetrician-gynecologists and hematologists that could lead to a decrease in the diagnosis of 'idiopathic' menorrhagia and allow more effective management of bleeding events," the authors write. "This, in turn, should lead to improved quality of life and school and work performance indicators in these women."

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