Teens with Bleeding Disorders: Facing Teen Rebellion
Adolescence can be a rough passage, full of first times, unexpected discoveries and changes by the boatload. The voyage into adulthood can be more challenging for teens with a bleeding disorder.
In some cases, teens deny that they have a bleeding disorder. The reasons for this behavior cut to the core of adolescence. Teenagers are especially fearful of being different, many feel that they are indestructible, and they often are struggling to assert their independence from their parents.
True Stories: Teens With Bleeding Disorders
Just Like Everyone Else
For many teens with bleeding disorders, there is a temptation not to acknowledge their disorder and to engage in the same activities as their peers. The solution to this dilemma is teaching teens with bleeding disorders how to set boundaries. Although teens with bleeding disorders should not be afraid to be active, they do need to be aware that certain activities are off-limits due to the risk factors involved.1
Playing It Safe
One of the hardest facts for teens with bleeding disorders to accept is that injuries are more severe for them. Before playing sports or doing anything physical, patients should be aware of potential injuries—and how to avoid them.1
You and your teen can work together to carefully choose a sport or physical activity for them and then prepare for it. Learning how long and hard it is safe to partake in the activity can help reduce their risk of an injury.2
Not all activities are appropriate for all people. Teens with bleeding disorders need to consult their physician or treatment center before beginning any exercise program or participating in sporting activities. If an injury occurs, teens with bleeding disorders should contact their physician or treatment center immediately for the appropriate treatment.
Starting a Cycle
Teen girls may be reluctant to discuss their menstrual bleeding, especially when they experience their first menstrual cycle. However, heavy, prolonged menstrual bleeding is a common symptom for women with a bleeding disorder. If your teen daughter has a bleeding disorder, talk to her about what she’s experiencing with her cycle and show her how to keep track of her cycle and symptoms.
If there is a family history of a bleeding disorder, you may want to consider having a medical team consisting of a gynecologist, a family physician or pediatrician, and a hematologist with experience treating bleeding disorders follow your teen through puberty. They may have recommendations to help manage the menstrual cycle of a teen with a bleeding disorder.
Breaking Away, Letting Go
For the parents of teens with bleeding disorders, emotions run the gamut as well. Learning to let go is perhaps the most difficult—but also the most necessary—task of all. Teens sometimes encourage these feelings of guilt by lashing out at their parents in times of stress.
For teens with bleeding disorders, learning to care for their own disorder isn't just a giant step forward in asserting their independence—it eventually becomes a necessity as they prepare for college and adult life. There is a trend among older adolescents to miss treatment center appointments. Before going away to school or entering the workforce, teens with bleeding disorders should know that they still need to keep up their regular prescribed treatment regimen.
- Family Perspectives. All About Hemophilia: A Guide For Families. Canadian Hemophilia Society website. http://www.hemophilia.ca/files/Chapter%2015.pdf. Accessed January 26, 2017.
- Physical Activity, Exercise, and Sports. All About Hemophilia: A Guide For Families. Canadian Hemophilia Society website. http://www.hemophilia.ca/files/Chapter%2012.pdf. Accessed March 9, 2017.