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Symptoms of haemophilia

People with haemophilia don’t cut more easily or bleed more quickly than normal. They do bleed for longer.

Cuts and scratches

In most cases minor cuts and scratches aren’t a problem. A little pressure is usually enough to stop the bleeding.

Bruises

Bruises are common when children start to crawl or walk. They may get bruises on their knees and elbows as they progress to crawling and standing, or if they fall or roll onto a hard toy or surface. Once they begin to stand and walk, they may get bruising on their buttocks if they fall or sit down suddenly. The bruises may look serious, but they don’t usually need any treatment. However, if the bruise is swelling and painful then treatment may be helpful (see Joints and muscles below).  

Prolonged bleeding

People with haemophilia commonly have prolonged bleeding following larger cuts or minor surgery such as having a tooth out or a circumcision. This can last for several days. There’s no reason why anyone with haemophilia shouldn’t have surgery with the correct treatment.

Joints and muscles

In severe haemophilia the main problem is internal bleeding into joints and muscles. We all damage our tissues in small ways in the activities of everyday life and most people repair that damage automatically. With severe haemophilia, the tiny breaks in the blood vessels in joints and muscles may continue to bleed. These bleeds are sometimes described as ‘spontaneous’ because it’s impossible to identify an obvious reason such as a bump or a fall.

More information is available in our Understanding Haemophilia booklet.