Women and girls who have sickle cell disease may often experience unique complications such as pain during sex, fertility issues, pregnancy problems for both mother and baby, increased complications during pregnancy and delayed puberty.
Sickle cell also affects a woman's menstrual cycle and does so in multiple ways:
1. There is pain crises before and during the period - my sister is just one of many women/girls who experience more pain crises just before and during her period. Her pain levels go from moderate to severe and easing that pain is usually only possible when she takes powerful pain meds like hydrocodone. This pain that women experience may be caused by changes in hormonal levels and hormonal treatment such as progesterone injections may help.
2. Many women with sickle cell disease do not have heavy periods but for those who do, heavy bleeding means they run the risk of developing iron - deficiency anemia. Birth control pills are often prescribed by doctors to lessen the bleeding. However, it is important to note that not all birth control pills are good for women with sickle cell because of the increased risk of a stroke.
Acknowledging the severity of menstrual pain and appropriately managing it in women and girls who have sickle cell is essential to improving the care of these patients. Also providing preventive care to pregnant women with scd is very important in warding off severe or life-threatening complications.
Education and research can help determine the most effective model for identifying and caring for women with this disease.
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