Sex matters: Practice 5P's when treating young women with venous thromboembolism

Sex matters when it comes to venous thromboembolism (VTE). We defined 5P's - period, pill, prognosis, pregnancy, and post-thrombotic syndrome - that should be discussed with young women with VTE. Menstrual blood loss (Period) can be aggravated by anticoagulant therapy. This seems particularly true for direct oral anticoagulants.

Abnormal uterine bleeding can be managed by hormonal therapy, tranexamic acid or modification of treatment. The use of combined oral contraceptives (Pill) is a risk factor for VTE. The magnitude of the risk depends on progestagen types and estrogen doses used. In women using therapeutic anticoagulation, concomitant hormonal therapy does not increase the risk of recurrent VTE. Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine devices and low-dose progestin-only pills do not increase the risk of VTE.

VTE in young women is often provoked by transient hormonal risk factors which affects Prognosis. Sex is incorporated as predictor in recurrent VTE risk assessment models. However, current guidelines do not propose using these to guide treatment duration. Pregnancy increases the risk of VTE by 4 to 5-fold. Thrombophilia and obstetric risk factors further increase the risk of pregnancy-related VTE. In women with a history of VTE, the risk of recurrence during pregnancy or postpartum appears to be influenced by risk factors present during the first VTE. In most women with a history of VTE, antepartum and postpartum thromboprophylaxis with low-molecular-weight heparin is indicated. Women generally are affected by VTE at younger age then men, and they have to deal with long-term complications (Post-thrombotic syndrome) of deep vein thrombosis early in life.

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