Internal bleeding can be a pretty scary topic. While an injury that damages the outside of your body is easy to see, internal bleeding occurs inside of your body and can be a major cause of concern. When an injury occurs on the outside of the body, it generally involves a cut, or tear, in the skin that bleeds. In these cases, you can see what hurts and can pinpoint the cause of the problem.
Internal bleeding is not as easy to diagnose or even see. Internal bleeding is often the result of a trauma or major injury. It almost always requires medical attention. Serious internal bleeding can signify a life-threatening condition. Let’s learn more about the signs and symptoms.
Internal Bleeding: Signs and Symptoms
Internal bleeding can be the indication of a serious condition. If someone you know suddenly develops the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately:
- Passing out
- Low blood pressure
- Visual problems
- Severe headache
- Severe abdominal pain
- One-sided weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
There are many other signs and symptoms of internal bleeding including dark stool, bruising around the naval, and on the sides of the abdomen. Internal bleeding is a symptom of an injury, serious condition, or disease. Sometimes, the source is easy to identify. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine what is the source of the bleeding.
Causes of Internal Bleeding
If you have been in an accident, the cause of your bleeding is obvious. It is most likely a result of some sort of trauma from the accident. But, some medical conditions may also cause internal bleeding. Here are some likely causes of bleeding:
- Damage to a blood vessel from minor tears from injuries.
- Limited clotting factors. Your body makes proteins to stop bleeding when you are injured. If your body fails to make enough clotting factors, bleeding may occur.
- Medications such as blood thinners or aspirin.
- Chronic high blood pressure. This can weaken blood vessel walls and cause aneurysms.
- Hemophilia and other genetic bleeding disorders.
- Gastrointestinal issues such as colon polyps, colitis, gastroenteritis, peptic ulcers, etc.
- Lifestyle influences like alcohol consumption, smoking, and illicit drug use can irritate the stomach lining and cause bleeding.
There are also life-threatening issues that can cause internal bleeding. These include:
- Trauma from car accidents, physical assaults, or being crushed by heavy items.
- Aneurysms which can burst.
- Breaking large bones, like the femur, that can cause significant bleeding.
- Ectopic pregnancy which is a pregnancy outside the uterus.
- In some surgeries, bleeding may continue even if the doctor thinks they have stopped it completely.
Diagnosing the bleeding is crucial to your health and safety. Diagnosis requires thorough testing by a medical professional and may include tests, a physical exam and a review of your medical history. In some cases, X-rays or CT scans may be necessary.
Treatment of Internal Bleeding
The most important step to stop the bleeding is to identify the source. Some cases may even require surgery to identify the source of your bleeding. Treatment depends on the severity of the bleed, the organ or blood vessel that is injured, and your overall health.
Mild cases sometimes only require rest and symptom control. But, more serious cases require more extensive treatment. Treatment may include finding the source of the bleed, stopping the bleed, and repairing any damage caused. The main focus in treatment of the bleeding is to stabilize your body and ensure your safety.
Internal bleeding is a serious and often scary medical condition. When you educate yourself on the topic and know what to expect in the unfortunate event that you or someone you love is internally bleeding, you will be more prepared to handle the condition. As always, talk to a qualified medical professional if you feel you have displayed the signs of the bleeding. Your safety is a priority, and we’re always here to help!