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Diagnosing VWD

How is VWD diagnosed in females?

VWD can be difficult to diagnose. Repeated testing may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Common experiences such as stress, exercise, pregnancy and hormonal levels can affect the results. Understanding the laboratory test results is complex and needs to be done by specialists with experience in VWD.

Many women and girls' symptoms are mild and they may not be diagnosed until they have a major bleeding episode, for example, after childbirth, surgery or an injury. However, if they have a severe form of VWD, they will usually have major bleeding problems as a baby or small child and will often be diagnosed within their first year of life.

Diagnosing VWD involves:

  • A personal history of abnormal bleeding or bruising from mucous membranes (such as the nose, mouth, uterus, vagina, stomach and intestines) or skin after injury, trauma or surgery and
  • A family history of bleeding problems and
  • Specialised laboratory test results for VWD.

Click here for more information on diagnosing VWD

Different types of VWD

There are three main types of von Willebrand disease. Bleeding symptoms can vary from person to person within each type.

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Date last reviewed: 22 September 2020

Important Note: This information was developed by Haemophilia Foundation Australia for education and information purposes only and does not replace advice from a treating health professional. Always see your health care provider for assessment and advice about your individual health before taking action or relying on published information. This information may be printed or photocopied for educational purposes.

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