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Why can it be difficult to diagnose von Willebrand disease (VWD)?

Von Willebrand disease (VWD) can be dfficult to diagnose because those with type 1 VWD may never experience major bleeding problems unless they are in an accident, undergo surgery or dental procedures or have heavy bleeding with menstruation or childbirth. Women who experience heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding, and who might have VWD, are often misdiagnosed with gynecological problems.

If a health care professional suspects that someone has VWD, he or she will take a comprehensive medical history and perform a physical exam and a variety of blood tests. The person may also be referred to a hematologist (a doctor specializing in blood disorders) to confirm the diagnosis and provide follow-up care.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.