Why Create Know Your Flow?
Our research in the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology, RCSI is focused on improving care for people with bleeding disorders. We identified a common pattern; women who were later diagnosed with bleeding disorders often did not recognise their periods as being heavy. We aim to improve recognition of heavy bleeding and diagnosis of bleeding disorders.
Student Innovation Challenge
At the 2018 RCSI Research Summer School Student Innovation Challenge, we set students a challenge: how to best connect with young women to educate about heavy periods. Their fantastic ideas and suggestions formed the basis of the Know Your Flow website, supported by funding from the Health Research Board (HRB) Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Award.
Low Von Willebrand in Ireland Cohort Study
The Low Von Willebrand in Ireland Cohort (LoVIC) study is a HRB funded study, set up in 2014. It is now the largest dedicated study of patients with Low VWF worldwide. The LoVIC and the paediatric (LoVIC-Kids) studies have highlighted the challenges women face in recognising heavy bleeding symptoms and reaching a diagnosis of a bleeding disorder.
Some Common Questions
There are lots of different treatments for heavy periods. If you've had heavy periods for a while, your iron levels may be low and you might need iron tablets. Other treatments include hormonal treatments such as the pill or medications to slow bleeding like tranexamic acid. Talk to your doctor, they can discuss the options and advise on what is the best fit for you.
Many bleeding disorders run in families so if you have bleeding symptoms, it is not surprising that others in your family may also have a similar pattern. In fact, many women may be slower to get a diagnosis of a bleeding disorder because heavy bleeding is treated as normal in their family. All the more reason to know your flow and understand when bleeding is heavy. If you are concerned, check out our next steps section.
Haemophilia is an example of a bleeding disorder but many others exist. Haemophilia mainly affects men but women can be carriers and may experience bleeding. If people in your family have haemophilia, specialised testing can find out if you are affected. This is best undertaken in a Haemophilia Treatment Centre, find your local centre in the link below.
Many people have bleeding after their tonsils are removed but if you needed to go back to hospital, a blood transfusion or to go back to theatre to stop bleeding then look at our other bleeding symptoms to see which ones apply to you.
Your doctor can help assess your bleeding symptoms. Heavy periods on their own are not enough to diagnose a bleeding tendency but if you have other bleeding as shown above it is important that these are considered together rather than each on their own. Why not check out our Bleeding Symptoms page and try the online bleeding score to see if you might require further testing.