A hematoma or ecchymosis , also called colloquially bruise, is a change in the coloration of the skin accompanied by a sensation of pain, caused by a rupture of a blood vessel in the underlying tissues. Depending on where the hematoma occurs, we may distinguish:
- Subcutaneous hematomas: They are those that take place underneath the skin
- Intramuscular hematomas: Those that are originated in the muscle
- Bone bruise: They take place in the bone
In bruising there is a variation of color throughout their evolution. Initially, it has a reddish color, due to the accumulation of blood. After 24 or 48 hours, because of the degradation of hemoglobin in the blood, usually acquires a purple , bluish or blackish color . Within a week, it usually acquires a greenish color before moving on to a brownish or yellowish color which, little by little, loses to acquire the normal skin color. Skin usually recovers within two weeks after the injury .
Sometimes bruising occurs in other areas more or less away from the area where the injury occurs. For example, an injured thigh muscle can produce a hematoma on the ankle in people who are standing for long .
The most superficial bruises do not usually present too many problems, but those occurring in deeper areas of the body originate much pain and cramps. Particularly painful are the hematomas that occur in the bones.
Symptoms of hematomas
The main symptoms of hematomas are: change of coloration in the skin, pain, inflammation, etc.
Causes of hematomas
The most common causes that can produce hematomas are the following:
- Traumatisms: These may be due to many reasons such as falls, car accidents, blows, injuries from sports efforts, etc.
- Simple purpura (Hemorrhagic diathesis) : People with simple purpura show bruises easily , as a result of a greater weakness in their capillaries. Bruises usually appear in the rumps, the thighs or the part superior of the arms without the person undergoing a traumatism.
- Allergic purpura: It is caused by an allergic reaction to certain food , drug or substance. This reaction can cause bleeding in the lower subcutaneous blood without the person having suffered a blow, fall or trauma.
- Senile purpura: This type of disorder occurs in older people and is characterized by the ease with which older people may have bruising to a minimum trauma. Besides, this type of bruising is usually very durable. Unlike the bruises caused by trauma, this type of bruising, red wine color, does not change to purple, but gradually disappears without changing color.
- Other physical diseases: Sometimes bruises occur as a result of other physical illnesses. The frequent occurrence of hematomas or the presence of large areas that have taken place without impact or considerable physical effort may be a symptom of a more serious underlying disease. Among the diseases that can cause these symptoms we have, for example, diseases of the liver, alcoholism, leukemia, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) drug addiction, etc.
- Products that thin the blood: The ingestion of products that reduce blood clotting can lead to bruising in front of any blow , pressure or trauma. Among these products we have drugs as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin or similar), acenocoumarol or warfarin. Other types of products used as natural remedies have the same antiplatelet property, such aswillow, garlic, onion, grapefruit, soybean, thyme, oregano, cauliflower, ginseng, celery, liquorice, parsley, etc. Also fish oil supplements, taken in high quantities, can thin the blood too.
Menopause: During menopause, the skin becomes thinner and drier with the possible appearance of hair, bruises, etc.
Lack of vitamins: The lack of vitamin C produces difficulty in healing of wounds and fractures, with problems of bleeding gums or nose bleeding and a greater facility to develop bruises. Vitamin K deficiencies lead to problems in blood clotting that can manifest as bruising.
Prevention of hematomas
By decreasing injury-producing situations or protecting the area where impacts would normally occur, we can reduce the frequency of bruises. For example, it is important to take care of young children, who suffer most falls or blows. Teaching them about what situations can be dangerous and adapting our home will produce less bruising.
It is important to take precautionary measures in the elderly to prevent bumps or falls (handrails where they can easily grasp, free corridors, cleared rooms, non-slippery floors, etc.).
For people who play sports, proper protective equipment should be considered to minimize the impacts causing many bruises. (Helmets, knee pads, shin guards, elbow and arm protection, etc)
Many bruises occur in vehicles, such as motorcycles, cars, bicycles, skateboards, skates or scooters, etc. In case of driver or passenger of a car, they must use seat belts properly. Cyclists should use helmets or knee pads and bumpers. Motorists should not forget the helmet and adequate protections for a possible fall to cause the least possible damage.
Diagnostics and treatment of hematomas
In the event of a blow, fall or injury of any kind, it is important to know how to react at first. One of the useful rules is to the lowest possible reaction to the bump can occur . To make this possible, you will take some ice, will wrap it in a cloth or towel and will apply it on the painful area. This will decrease pain and will reduce inflammation. Ice should never be applied directly to a contusion or bruise because it can burn the skin.
One must not prick the swelling area or bruise to let out the liquid. This practice, quite common in some areas, is not at all desirable and all you can get is that the wound becomes infected. The skin over the hematoma protects against invading microorganisms.
Never press the area where there has been a hematoma or perform massages on it.
After a stroke or a muscle injury, the patient will need a period of rest of the affected area to facilitate the recovery of tissues, or at least not to aggravate the affected area.
When the hematoma occurs in an arm or leg, you should place them in a higher position to prevent blood from pooling in the area. This will help reduce inflammation.
It is important to take into account those hematomas that produce intense pain, which are located in particular areas (behind the ear, around the navel, etc) or have a very large extent. In this case there could be some significant internal injury. If either of these cases, the patient will need prompt medical attention.
In the same way , one will go to the doctor in the following situations:
- If you have some bruising for no apparent reason, that's to say, if there has not been any kind of bump or fall
- If the hematoma is very red and appears infected or has pus
- If the person suffering hematoma manifests fever
- when the hematoma or injury occurs in one eye.
The natural treatment of hematomas involves using a series of natural resources that help eliminate or prevent their onset.