Symptoms of a Bleed—How to Treat the Bleed
For people who are living with a bleeding disorder, it is important to treat the bleed early and recognizing the symptoms of a bleed as soon as it begins is the first step of an effective treatment.
Symptoms Of A Bleed: Adults
- Minor cuts that don't clot1
- Cuts that stop bleeding, then start again1
- Nosebleeds without a known cause1
- Prolonged bleeding after surgery or tooth extraction2
- Bleeding from gums3
- Excessive menstrual bleeding2
- Many large or deep bruises1,2
- A bubbling or tingling feeling in a joint1
- Warm feeling within a joint1
- Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling1
Responding To A Bleed
The most important thing to do when responding to a bleed is to treat it as soon as possible. It's a good idea to keep a supply of treatment on hand, as well as phone numbers for hemophilia treatment centers or bleeding disorder healthcare professionals.
While the bleed is in progress, you should follow R.I.C.E. to help with pain, reduce swelling and prevent further damage. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.4,5
- Rest - Stop using the injured area as soon as possible. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, the injured area may require immobilization with splints, a cast, or the use of crutches to keep the area at rest.
- Ice - Put ice on the injured area to reduce swelling and pain. You can use a bag of ice, a bag of frozen vegetables, or an ice pack product. Ice should be wrapped in a towel and not applied directly to the skin. The usual recommendation is to apply ice for 15 minutes and then leave ice off long enough for the skin to re-warm.
- Compression - Using an elastic bandage, apply pressure around the injured area.
- Elevation - Hold the injured area above the level of the heart to help blood flow away from the area, reducing swelling and pain.5
For women with von Willebrand disease (vWD), your doctor may recommend taking contraceptives and increasing your von Willebrand factor (vWF) before the start of your menstrual period to control excessive bleeding.6
Contact Your Hemophilia Treatment Center
After you have treated with factor and started R. I. C. E., you may want to contact your physician or your hemophilia treatment center, particularly if you are uncertain about the seriousness of the bleed or about what dosage you should be taking. Your bleeding disorder healthcare professional can help you decide whether any further care is needed.
- Bleeding Disorders. Types of Bleeds. National Hemophilia website. https://www.hemophilia.org/Bleeding-Disorders/Types-of-Bleeds. Accessed January 26, 2017.
- Bleeding Disorders. What is a Bleeding Disorder? National Hemophilia website. https://www.hemophilia.org/Bleeding-Disorders/What-is-a-Bleeding-Disorder. Accessed January 26, 2017.
- Symptoms of von Willebrand Disease. Canadian Hemophilia Society website. http://www.hemophilia.ca/en/bleeding-disorders/von-willebrand-disease/symptoms-of-von-willebrand-disease/. Accessed March 29, 2017.
- Guidelines for the Management of Hemophilia. World Federation of Hemophilia website. http://www1.wfh.org/publications/files/pdf-1472.pdf. Accessed January 26, 2017.
- RICE Therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). University of Louisville website. https://louisville.edu/campushealth/files/self-care/RICETherapy.pdf. Accessed January 26, 2017.
- Special Issues for Women and Girls. Hemophilia Foundation Australia website. https://www.haemophilia.org.au/publications/national-haemophilia/2014/no-187-september-2014/von-willebrand-disorder-vwd-special-issues-for. Accessed May 24, 2017.