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Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Apr;97(4):630-6.

von Willebrand disease and other inherited bleeding disorders in women with diagnosed menorrhagia.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Hematologic Diseases Branch, Atlanta, GA, USA.



To estimate the prevalence of von Willebrand disease and other bleeding disorders in women with and without diagnosed menorrhagia.


Women with menorrhagia were identified among members of a health maintenance organization in the southeastern United States through a computer search for appropriate International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes. A random sample of members with no such code was selected as controls. The study included 121 women with menorrhagia and 123 controls. Subjects were interviewed in person, and blood was drawn for coagulation testing. Laboratory results for menorrhagia patients were compared with those in controls using race and blood type specific ranges developed from the control group. A test was considered abnormal if it exceeded two standard deviations below the control mean.


Bleeding disorders (von Willebrand disease, factor deficiency, or a platelet abnormality) were diagnosed in 10.7% of menorrhagia patients and 3.2% of controls (P =.02). von Willebrand disease was present in eight menorrhagia patients (6.6%) and in one control (0.8%) (P =.02); separate analyses by race revealed a von Willebrand disease prevalence of 15.9% among white and 1.4% among black menorrhagia patients (P =.01). Women with bleeding disorders did not differ significantly from controls in other symptoms of bleeding.


The prevalence of inherited bleeding disorders among white women with menorrhagia was substantial, consistent with European data published recently. For unknown reasons, the prevalence of von Willebrand disease was lower among black women. These findings indicate the importance of considering inherited bleeding disorders as a cause of menorrhagia.

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