Definition

What is internal bleeding?

While the general public understands that internal bleeding means bleeding that can’t be seen on the outside of the body, medical personnel tend to use terms that describe more precisely the location inside the body where the bleeding is found.

The internal bleeding may occur within tissues, organs, or in cavities of the body including the head, spinal canal, chest, and abdomen.

Internal bleeding may be much more difficult to identify. It may not be evident for many hours after it begins, and symptoms may only occur when there is significant blood loss or if a blood clot is large enough to compress an organ and prevent it from functioning properly.

How common is internal bleeding?

According to some recent surveys, the percentage of people having internal bleeding increases, especially due to traffic accidents.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of internal bleeding?

The symptoms of internal bleeding depend upon where the bleeding is located, how much bleeding has occurred, and what structures and functions in the body are affected.

  • Intracranial bleeding from trauma or from a leaking aneurysm often causes pain, but may also result in symptoms of altered mental function. Subarachnoid bleeding often causes headache and a stiff neck.
  • Intra-abdominal bleeding may be hidden and present only with pain, but if there is enough blood loss, the patient may complain of weakness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of shock and decreased blood pressure
  • Blood seen in the urine may be due to internal bleeding at any site within the urinary tract, from the kidney to the bladder. Often bladder infections are associated with blood in the urine, but other causes, including kidney and bladder cancer, need to be considered based upon the particular symptoms, patient’s age, and medical history.

When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop internal bleeding from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes internal bleeding?

Bleeding most often occurs due to injury, and depending on the circumstances, the amount of force required to cause bleeding can be quite variable. Some people can experience spontaneous bleeding not necessarily related to any injury or trauma.

  • Blunt trauma: Most people understand that falling from a height or being involved in a car accident can inflict great force and trauma upon the body.
  • Deceleration trauma: Deceleration may cause organs in the body to be shifted inside the body. This may shear blood vessels away from the organ and cause bleeding to occur.
  • Fractures: Bleeding may occur with broken bones.
  • Bleeding after surgery: A little bleeding can be expected in most situations.
  • Spontaneous bleeding: Internal bleeding may occur spontaneously, especially in those people who take anticoagulation medications or who have inherited bleeding disorders
  • Medication: Internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract may be caused as a side effect of medications (most often from NSAID such as ibuprofen and aspirin) and alcohol.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for internal bleeding?

Factors that can increase the risk of internal bleeding include:

  • Using tobacco such as cigarette
  • Drinking alcohol too much

Diagnosis & Treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

 

How is internal bleeding diagnosed?

The diagnosis begins asking about your medical history. This is followed by a physical examination, concentrating on the area of the body where the internal bleeding may have occurred.

Blood tests may be performed to check for a low red blood cell count, or anemia. However, if the bleeding occurs rapidly, the initial hemoglobin reading or red blood cell count may be normal. Imaging tests are used to look for the bleeding source such as CT-scan, MRI, or endoscopy, or colonoscopy, etc.

How is internal bleeding treated?        

The initial treatment plan for any patient with internal bleeding begins with assessing the patient’s stability and making certain the ABCs are well maintained. This includes making certain that:

  • Airway is open
  • The patient is breathing
  • There is adequate circulation, meaning stable pulse rate and blood pressure

The definitive treatment of internal bleeding depends upon where the bleeding located, the individual situation, and the stability of the patient. The basic goals include identifying and stopping the source of bleeding and repairing any damage that the bleeding may have caused.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage internal bleeding?

If significant internal bleeding has occurred and the person appears to be in shock, emergency medical services should be contacted. The person should be laid flat with their fleet elevated if possible. However, if the bleeding is due to trauma, and there is a possible risk for neck or spine injury, the individual should not be moved (in most cases) until they have been evaluated by emergency personnel.

If the patient has signs of a stroke, emergency medical services should be activated since it is difficult to determine if the decreased brain function is due to bleeding in the brain or because of decreased blood supply due to a blocked blood vessel.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: April 14, 2017 | Last Modified: April 14, 2017

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