Recent studies indicate that bleeding disorders, particularly von Willebrand disease (VWD) are more prevalent than previously thought in adolescents with menorrhagia. Menorrhagia management in undiagnosed disorders of hemostasis may be associated with unwanted risks and complications. The prevalence of symptomatic VWD in the pediatric primary care setting appears to be 0.11% (95% CI, 0.04–0.25%). Studies evaluating the prevalence of VWD in adolescents with menorrhagia have included over 500 patients with a prevalence range from 3 to 36% depending on the clinical setting studied, with the highest prevalence seen in adolescents referred to an outpatient Hemophilia Center, while the lowest prevalence is seen in the acute hospital setting. Recently, the diagnosis of VWD has been facilitated by the use of pediatric bleeding questionnaires that have proved useful in quantifying the severity of bleeding symptoms. Treatment of VWD is often complex because a combination of therapies is often required. Potential treatment options include estrogen-progesterone preparations, desmopressin, antifibrinolytic agents and von Willebrand factor concentrates. More research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the various treatment modalities in the adolescent population.

Mikhail S, Kouides K. von Willebrand Disease in the pediatric and adolescent population. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2010 Dec;23(6):S3-S10

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