A bleed may last a short time.
The road to diagnosis often doesn’t.

If I have VWD, what will my symptoms be?

Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is a complex, diverse disease with a wide variety of symptoms. They can vary greatly – from person to person and episode to episode. Types of bleeding include10-12:

  1. Heavy bleeding from small wounds
  2. Heavy bleeding during/after surgery or procedures
  3. Easy bruising
  4. Nosebleeds
  5. Heavy bleeding from dental work
  6. Gastrointestinal bleeding
  7. Heavy menstrual bleeding
  8. Severe bleeding during childbirth
  9. Bleeding gums
  10. Joint bleeds (can cause joint pain and damage)
Learn about the symptoms of VWD
Learn about the symptoms of VWD
Learn what a doctor considers to diagnosis VWD Learn what a doctor considers to diagnosis VWD


How can my doctor tell if I have VWD?

People with severe VWD often have symptoms as babies and may be diagnosed early, but in milder cases VWD often isn’t diagnosed until the experience of a major bleed (usually due to an injury or surgery). If a healthcare provider (HCP) suspects a bleeding disorder, the patient will often be referred to a hematologist, a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating bleeding disorders such as VWD and hemophilia.5,13

Diagnosing VWD usually involves reviewing personal history of bleeding or bruising that is more than normal, such as4,13:

  • Bleeding from a small wound that lasted more than 15 minutes or restarted within 7 days
  • Prolonged, heavy or repeated bleeding that required medical attention after surgery or a dental procedure
  • Bruising with little or no apparent trauma, especially if a lump appears under the bruise
  • Nosebleeds with no obvious cause, lasting longer than 10 minutes or requiring medical attention
  • Bloody stools
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding in women

Your doctor will likely also research whether you have a family history of bleeding more than usual, give you a physical exam, check for signs of liver disease or anemia (low red blood cell count).

VWD can only be diagnosed with several specialized blood tests because routine blood tests often give normal results with VWD. Testing may be repeated multiple times because a person’s von Willebrand factor (VWF) levels can vary in different instances and may appear normal.5,13

Laboratory tests for VWD are designed to find out5:

  • If someone has VWD
  • What type of VWD the person has
Learn ways to treat VWD
Learn ways to treat VWD


I’ve been diagnosed with VWD. Now what?

Each VWD diagnosis is unique in type and severity. Check with your doctor to find out where you fall on the spectrum and what types of treatment may be right for you.

Medicines are used to1,14:

  • Increase the amount of VWF released into the bloodstream (desmopressin)
  • Replace VWF (replacement therapy)
  • Prevent the breakdown of blood clots (antifibrinolytics)
  • Control heavy menstrual bleeding in women (birth control pills, IUD)
  • Stop occurring bleeding (fibrin glue)
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