About bleeding and bleeds

Haemophilia is a lifelong condition. It cannot be cured. However, researchers are testing treatments to find a cure and with current medicines it can be managed effectively.

Many people think that if someone with haemophilia has a cut, they will bleed to death but this is not true. A minor cut will bleed for longer if it is not treated, but they will not die from it. Minor cuts and scratches are not a problem and only need a Band-Aid® and some pressure to stop the bleeding. For deeper cuts, bleeding continues for longer if blood does not thicken where the blood vessels have been damaged. Treatment with clotting factor will then be needed to make the bleeding stop. Treatment involves injecting the clotting factor into a vein so blood can clot.

Internal bleeding or ‘bleeds’ is a serious problem for most people with haemophilia. Bleeds happen mostly into joints or muscles. They can sometimes happen for what seems like no apparent reason or without an obvious cause, or as a result of an injury like falling over.

If internal bleeding is not stopped quickly with treatment, it will result in pain and swelling. Over a period of time, repeated bleeding into joints and muscles can cause permanent damage, such as arthritis in the joints, and chronic pain.

Bleeds into the head, spine, neck, throat, chest, or stomach area are much less common but are also very serious as they can be life-threatening. If this happens, the person with haemophilia should see a doctor immediately and the Haemophilia Centre should also be contacted.

Date last reviewed: 21/06/2012