Internal Bleeding/Bruising FAQs

Internal Bleeding and BruisingInternal bleeding occurs as blood is lost throughout various organs in the body. It is a very serious medical condition, for which medical help should be sought immediately. Because the bleeding is not always outwardly visible, it is important to know the other symptoms of internal bleeding, and what to do in such emergencies. The following is a list of frequently-asked questions and corresponding answers:

How can I tell if someone is bleeding internally?

Oftentimes ,heavy bruising that stems from a traumatic accident is a symptom of internal bleeding. The Red Cross provides other signs to help you recognize internal bleeding:

  • Tender, swollen, bruised or hard areas of the body, such as the abdomen
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Skin that feels cool or moist, or looks pale or bluish
  • Vomiting blood or coughing up blood
  • Excessive thirst
  • An injured extremity that is blue or extremely pale
  • Altered mental state, such as the person becoming confused, faint, drowsy, or unconscious

Symptoms vary based on the location and rate of blood loss. Internal bleeding can also manifest itself by secretion through natural avenues, such as the mouth, rectum, etc. The rare blood disease hemophilia puts a patient at a severe risk of internal bleeding when the blood doesn’t properly clot.

What should I do if I suspect internal bleeding?

If internal bleeding is at all suspected, medical help should be sought immediately. Call 911 or go directly to the hospital as internal bleeding can have severe and even fatal consequences. If you suspect you are going into shock—feeling dizzy or light-headed—the Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) recommends that you lay down with your legs up in the air until help arrives.

What causes internal bleeding?

Internal bleeding can occur as a result of serious traumatic injuries or with a variety of medical conditions. The risk is increased with clotting abnormalities and anti-clotting medications. For a full list of possible causes not related to traumatic injuries, click here.

Does internal bleeding affect children differently from adults?

Children and elderly adults can be particularly harmed from internal bleeding. Both age groups often do not display the same symptoms as are normally found and have difficulty communicating their symptoms. They are, however, not more at risk for internal bleeding than other age groups, unless their behavior (i.e. life-style pattern of extreme sports) or deteriorating health leads to potentially harmful situations as could be the case for elderly falling on the stairs.

How can internal bleeding be diagnosed?

Upon arriving at a medical facility, a doctor will run a blood test, x-rays and an ultra-sound when necessary. A CT scan can also be performed to check for internal injuries. In extreme cases, a doctor may decide an outpatient surgical procedure is the best method for locating and clearing up the bleeding.

Can internal bleeding be prevented?

Through exercising proper judgment in general and taking medications, you can help reduce the risk of internal bleeding. Always wear protective equipment, and use common sense to reduce serious injuries from accidents, activities, and sports. It is important to be aware of the side effects of medications (such as high blood pressure) used for blood-thinning to be able to help prevent your risk of internal bleeding. If you have experienced internal bleeding or bruising as a result of someone else’s negligence, we can help you work with the insurance company to recover what you need to cover the medical costs incurred. At Christensen & Hymas, we aim to provide passionate service to make sure your financial means are met so you can focus on recovery. We can also recommend further resources that will help you as you move towards recovery. Return to Internal Bleeding/Bruising Home Page. 

Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. Andrew Smith and the U.S. Air Force. The image is in the public domain.

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