Hemophilia, Established

You have been seen today for your hemophilia. You may have been given a transfusion of clotting factor or other medicines to prevent or treat a bleeding episode.

As you know, joints are a common place for internal bleeding. The joints most often affected are the knees, elbows, ankles, shoulders, or wrists. Bleeding into the joint causes severe pain. If it keeps happening, it can cause lifelong damage. Learn the symptoms of joint bleeding. Get medical care right away if you think you have joint bleeding.

Home care

Follow these guidelines when caring for yourself at home:

  • Use acetaminophen for mild pain.

  • Don’t take any product that has aspirin. Aspirin makes it more likely that you will bleed.

  • Don’t use ibuprofen or naproxen unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so.

  • Use prescription pain medicine only as prescribed. Overusing opioid medicines may lead to addiction. Talk with your healthcare provider about a pain management plan or a referral to a pain management clinic if current medicines are not working.

  • If you have bleeding in a joint, put an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes at a time. Do this every 2 hours. Move that joint as little as possible.

General care

It’s important to keep up your physical strength. This helps protect your joints from injury and internal bleeding.

Choose physical activities based on how severe your hemophilia is:

  • Solo sports such as swimming, running, and bicycling are OK for people with mild disease.

  • Team sports such as soccer, basketball, or baseball carry more risk for injury. Don't do these if you have moderate to severe hemophilia.

  • Heavy contact sports such as wrestling, football, and hockey are dangerous for anyone with hemophilia. This is due to the risk of bleeding that can occur with injury. Don't do any of these sports.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider for regular checkups every 6 to 12 months. Everyone with hemophilia disease should get advised vaccines, especially hepatitis A and B. Tell your healthcare providers and dentists that you have hemophilia before having surgery or a tooth removed. Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Any serious physical injury, such as a fall from a bike

  • Gum bleeding that won’t stop. This may happen in young children who are teething.

  • Bleeding from the skin that doesn’t stop after constant direct pressure for 10 minutes

  • Joint pain or swelling. This is often the knee, elbow, ankle, shoulder, or wrist.

  • Muscle pain or swelling. This is often in the thigh, calf, or forearm.

  • Head injury, even if you are not knocked out

  • Severe headache with nausea or vomiting

  • Seizure or unexpected drowsiness or confusion

  • Severe backache or paralysis of an arm or leg

  • Nosebleeds that don’t ease after pinching the nose for 10 minutes

  • Blood (bright red or dark) in your urine

  • Blood (black or red) in the stool or vomit

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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