Bleeding Diathesis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Bleeding diathesis is basically an abnormal bleeding condition which in most cases is caused by hypocoagulability, a condition caused when the body’s coagulation system becomes faulty.  There are different kinds of this condition, and they range from mild to lethal.

Several etiological factors are responsible for bleeding diathesis. Of the factors, insufficient clotting happens to be the most common.

  • Acquired Cause: Some of the acquired caused of bleeding diathesis are liver failure, intravascular coagulation, insufficient vitamin K, and anticoagulation with warfarin. Additionally, venoms from certain species of snakes can also cause bleeding diathesis. Vipers, rattlesnakes and bothrops are typical of such snake.

Other causes include leukemia, and viral hemorrhagic fever like dengue.

  • Genetics: People who naturally don’t have the genes needed for the synthesis of protein are very likely to have faulty clotting mechanism. Genetic diseases like Von Willebrand and hemophilia are the major causes of coagulopathy. A person who has either parents suffering from bleeding diathesis, will 95% of the time suffer the same condition. So, genetically transmitted bleeding problems and coagulopathies are gender based, majorly affecting the X chromosome.
  • Autoimmune causes: Certain autoimmune conditions are responsible for coagulation disorders. They are linked to coagulation factors known in medicine as inhibitors of coagulation. Factor VIII is the major inhibitor. One major clotting disorder caused by autoimmune causes is Anti-phospholipid syndrome.

Common symptoms of bleeding diathesis

Some of the common manifestations of bleeding diathesis are given below:

  • Recurrent and spontaneous bruising. Frequent appearing of big bruises on the part of your body most exposed to the skin can be indicative of bleeding disorder.
  • Failure of the skin to stop bleeding after a minor cut or abrasion
  • Frequently occurring nosebleeds is also a common symptom. This is particularly true when they last more than 10 minutes even after compressing the nose. People suffering from Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome suffer this condition the most.
  • Acute menorrhagia caused by anemia is another symptom.
  • Severe bleeding after a dental surgery is also indicative of bleeding diathesis. There are instances when the gum bleeds even in the absence of gingival disease, and without brushing and flossing. This condition can sometimes be caused by chronic leukemia.
  • Presence of blood in stool
  • Acute post-partum hemorrhage
  • Excessive bleeding after receiving an injection

Diagnosis and techniques for treating bleeding diathesis

It is important you immediately consult with a doctor once you suspect bleeding diathesis. You must first determine the exact cause of your condition before commencing treatment. You will be required to do several series of test to help your healthcare provider determine the exact cause of your condition. The most common tests are:

  • Blood film
  • Vitamin K profile
  • Platelet count
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Liver function test
  • Prothrombin time
  • Gene analysis
  • Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT)

Treatment procedure will largely depend on the actual cause of the condition. Treatment isn’t complete without frequent visits. While gender based bleeding disorder is mostly suffered by males, females also suffer from the condition especially during childbirth and when menstruating.

Genetic counseling will be needed by those whose bleeding condition is genetically based.

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