Red Headed = increased bleeding risk? - page 2

Hi all! Yet another something I learned/heard at work and I don't know if its anecdotal or based in fact. Has anyone else ever heard that red-headed patients are more at risk for... Read More

  1. by   hf82rn
    I've only been working L&D for a few months, and EVERY true redhead I've taken care of has bled a considerable amount more than normal. PPH? I wouldn't say that, as only about 25% of those women warranted methergine. But they did bleed extrememly heavy and when it was time to get up to the bathroom about more than half have passed out cold. I've been told from the nurses who have worked there for years that we don't have many women pass out on us in general, but of those that do, 75% are redheads.

    I was also told in school from my OB instructor that redheads will bleed more, although there is no textbook answer for this. She has a PhD in women's health and was an OB nurse for 30+ years. I'd like to think that she knows something.
  2. by   kaitsmama
    As a natural red head it is very interesting to read these threads...

    Personally, I am a bleeder! As a child I would get horrific nose bleeds that would last for hours literally! My menses are so heavy that on heavy days I am unable to leave the house (I plan my life around the third day of my period). After my C-section delivery I lost so much blood that we were on the verge of requiring a transufsion.

    As far as pain tolerance, I was at 8 cm. dilation for 6 hours and never so much as screamed, whined, etc. with no analgesia. I have had a surgeon begin surgery on me before anesthetic took effect (not pleasant, but when I said, "I can feel that!" he did apologize :uhoh21. I don't think this would qualify for low pain tolerance .

    Laura
  3. by   MarySunshine
    SmilingBluEyes,
    How can you tell that you experience pain more intensely than most? I'm not doubting you, I'm just really curious how you would know that. Thanks for the experienced (in being redhead and being an L&D nurse) input, btw.

    Very interesting topic! I have also heard this but had no idea whether it was based in fact.
  4. by   supernurse65
    I'm a peds nurse for 15 years and the red headed freckle face kids with T&A always seemed to bleed more than other kids. maybe anecdotal maybe not?
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    The pain experience: I have received a lot of feedback through the years from people in medicine and anesthesia that tells me I need more medication than most. It's true in dentistry too....i always need a second or even third shot of local to numb up an area before tooth work! It makes my dentist crazy I think....

    Also, I have had several surgeries and pregnancies/losses requiring pain intervention and have been told time and again, "wow you need a lot of pain medicine" or "you have a really low tolerance for pain". I have read some articles that do suggest redheads tend to require more analgesia/anesthesia in these situations, can't quote them, unfortunately. As to whether I feel it more intensely, you are right, I can't say I definately do---I chose my words very poorly.

    . I can say what people have told me through the years, however.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Aug 31, '06
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from hf82rn
    I've only been working L&D for a few months, and EVERY true redhead I've taken care of has bled a considerable amount more than normal. PPH? I wouldn't say that, as only about 25% of those women warranted methergine. But they did bleed extrememly heavy and when it was time to get up to the bathroom about more than half have passed out cold. I've been told from the nurses who have worked there for years that we don't have many women pass out on us in general, but of those that do, 75% are redheads.

    I was also told in school from my OB instructor that redheads will bleed more, although there is no textbook answer for this. She has a PhD in women's health and was an OB nurse for 30+ years. I'd like to think that she knows something.
    You are absolutely right, this person knows a LOT!

    But those of us working in the specialty can speak to this issue, too. I have learned this much: Anecdotal experiences can vary. I have seen studies that suggest redheads bleed more and seen them debunked through the years. I think, anyhow, it's inconclusive and that it's just something we can't say for sure is absolutely true. The evidence in many cases seems to point to this.....but no one can seem to be sure or say exactly WHY. That is what I am getting at.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Aug 31, '06
  7. by   bagladyrn
    All of the evidence may be anecdotal, but why take a chance. After 18 years in this specialty, if I am caring for a true redhead, I make sure I have IV access and the methergine and/or hemabate is in the room.
    I do remember reading a reference recently to redheads requiring more anesthesia/pain med, but can't remember where.
    P.S. - SBE - I do know that all my redheaded cousins were the ORNERIEST little kids - or is that a myth too?
  8. by   RNfromMS
    I originally clicked on this thread b/c I thought it sounded so preposterous. Now I think it's really interesting. I am definately going to ask docs and long-time RNs at work about this. In the population I work with, we don't see many red-heads so I had no idea. I have a cousin who is definately red-headed and has 3 children under the age of 9. I plan to ask her about this too.

    My only first-hand experience with anything like this: I am a "dirty-blonde" with red tendencies (my maternal grandmother was a strawberry blonde). I definately spent many years with heavier than normal periods (at least in comparison to friends and family). At several times in my menstrual years I was found to be anemic, although not at every blood check (the last one was so severe, they checked a ferritin level; it was 7.) I never had children though so I don't know about PPH.

    Definately something to wonder about. As another poster said, whether it can be backed up or not, I will definately have hemabate and methergine at bedside if I have a red-headed patient. Hmmmmm.
  9. by   bleppity
    I actually read a news article online several months ago about this subject. I know it was a Reuters or maybe Associated Press news article. Someone had actually done a study to prove that the bit about redheads is true. Perhaps an Internet search would produce the original article.... I can't remember the source.
  10. by   BittyBabyGrower
    Redhead here too...yeah, I bled a bit more after delivery, I bruise easy and I bleed easily. I was worked up for clotting issues and they were fine, and the heme doc told me that redheads do bleed more for some reason. My DD is the same way. My DH always teases me and says it is all the recessive genes I have from being green eyed and redheaded :lol
  11. by   lovemyjob
    I heard the pain issue is not just a redheaded thing, but fair-skinned people...like fairskinned blondes and reds. I am very fairskinned and I have a pretty low tolerance for pain.
  12. by   Ohmygosh
    I seem to recall that one of my instructors "a true red-head" mentioned this very subject once. I am going to ask her about this. I actually have to do a paper on post partum bleeding for a clinical instructor due within the week -- maybe I will find a way to work this "potential risk factor" into the paper. On a more personal note, I am what I call "HYPER-caucasian" and I have always had a very high pain threshold -
  13. by   crosfam
    Yes, I believe it's true also. If I have a pt with red hair, I try to have methergine at the bs for after delivery.:redlight:

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