Because children with hemophilia lack blood clotting factor proteins, they can be more likely to experience prolonged, heavy bleeding. In cases of severe hemophilia, bleeding may be spontaneous and frequent.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hemophilia occurs in 1 out of every 5,000 children born with XY chromosomes. It can also occur in children with XX chromosomes but is far less common.

Hemophilia means that a person doesn’t have sufficient blood clotting factor proteins.

Two main types of hemophilia are hemophilia A, which affects factor 8, and hemophilia B, which affects factor 9. Here’s what you need to know about the potential symptoms and treatment of hemophilia in children.

Learn more about hemophilia.

Hemophilia symptoms in children can include:

  • bleeding in a baby’s head after a difficult delivery
  • significant blood loss after vaccinations and other shots
  • frequent nosebleeds that are hard to stop
  • heavy bleeding after losing a tooth
  • prolonged or heavy bleeding after a circumcision
  • blood in urine or stools

Internal bleeding can cause pain in the joints and muscles and bruising. This may cause young children to avoid crawling or walking.

As children with hemophilia start their menstrual periods, their bleeding may be heavier and more prolonged than expected.

Hemophilia results from a genetic mutation a person can inherit. A new mutation that’s not in a family already only occurs in one-third of babies with hemophilia.

The altered gene that affects a blood clotting factor protein in hemophilia is on the X chromosome. Because people assigned female at birth have two X chromosomes, and those assigned male at birth only have one X chromosome, people with XY chromosomes may be at a higher risk of having hemophilia.

It also means that people with XX chromosomes can be unaffected carriers of hemophilia if they have one X chromosome with a mutation and one without.

There’s currently no cure for hemophilia. Instead, doctors typically focus on replacing the missing blood clotting factor. They do this by infusing a commercial version of the necessary factor into a person’s vein. Parents can get training to give their children infusions at home.

Learn more about treating hemophilia.

If a doctor suspects hemophilia based on a family history or frequent, heavy bleeding, your child’s doctor may recommend a blood test to determine their clotting ability. Depending on the results, additional blood testing can then reveal the type of hemophilia and the severity.

The degree of hemophilia children experience may affect their outlooks. A person can have mild, moderate, or severe hemophilia, depending on the amount of clotting factor in their blood.

While those with severe hemophilia may experience spontaneous bleeding or health effects from repeated joint bleeding, people with mild hemophilia may have serious bleeding occur after larger accidents or medical procedures. They have a nearly typical life expectancy and may experience no condition-related limitations.

Where can I find support raising a child with hemophilia?

When your child receives a diagnosis of hemophilia, their doctor can suggest a local support group for parents. Organizations like the National Bleeding Disorders Foundation (formerly the National Hemophilia Foundation) can also offer the opportunity to connect with others.

Do I need to see a special doctor if my child has hemophilia?

If your child has hemophilia, they may benefit from getting care at a hemophilia treatment center. These facilities include a comprehensive collection of medical professionals with experience assisting people with hemophilia.

People who use these centers can be 40% less likely to experience hospitalization due to bleeding complications and 40% less likely to die of a hemophilia-related complication.

The CDC’s Division of Blood Disorders Gateway can help you find a hemophilia treatment center near you.

What information does my child’s teacher or caretaker need if they have hemophilia?

It’s important to let your child’s teacher or caretaker know which clotting factors the condition affects so they can let medical professionals know in an emergency.

It’s also important to show teachers and school personnel how to handle bleeding events your child may experience at school, such as:

  • bleeding from minor cuts
  • signs of internal bleeding
  • when to take your child to a doctor or to get emergency treatment

Children with hemophilia may experience prolonged, heavy bleeding. In some cases, they may even have spontaneous bleeding or continual internal bleeding that affects their joints and organs.

You may wish to discuss blood testing for hemophilia with your child’s doctor, especially if you have a child with XY chromosomes and a family history of hemophilia.

Although there’s currently no cure, knowing what clotting blood factors the condition affects can help doctors offer the appropriate treatments should continual, heavy bleeding occur.