Since von Willebrand's is a genetic disorder--probably the most common one in the world--it's technically not a disease, although the name remains. In layperson's terms, the major symptoms include:

- easy or unexplained bruising
- tendency to bleed from the gums/mouth
- frequent and/or long-lasting nosebleeds
- heavy menstrual flow in women

No treatment is usually required, although doctors and surgeons should be aware of the condition before treatment. However, it's unlikely to cause serious problems during surgery unless it's oral surgery. Additionally, since von Willebrand factor naturally increases during pregnancy, abnormal bleeding during birth is relatively uncommon. Those with extreme cases should avoid contact sports.

Von Willebrand's is inherited but autosomal. Both men and women can have the disorder or be non-active carriers. However, many people, including health care professionals, still believe that bleeding disorders only affect males, so the disorder is frequently undiagnosed in women.

It was described by a Finnish doctor, Von Willebrand, in the 1920s. The current preferred name is von Willebrand disease, and reports of its incidence, following further research, have risen to 1 in 100. You can read more about it in any medical database or textbook.