Being diagnosed with a hematoma can sound like you have a frightening illness. In reality, a hematoma is very similar to what we commonly call a bruise. This can happen anywhere, including on internal organs if enough force is applied. The blood vessels break and the cells leak into the surrounding tissue. This causes discomfort and sometimes significant pain. It will also cause a discoloration of the area as the blood cells become trapped in the tissue when the blood vessels repair themselves.
Is a Hematoma Serious?
In most cases a hematoma is not serious unless it is impacting a vital organ or the blood vessel doesn’t stop leaking blood cells. The latter is generally caused by a preexisting condition, usually a bleeding disorder.
Despite the fact that a hematoma typically doesn’t require medical care, the pain that is caused may need treatment. Additionally, when a bone breaks it is not uncommon for the surrounding blood vessels to be affected by the impact and thus it is often necessary to have an x-ray just to be sure that the bone is not broken. Pain can be relieved in numerous ways.
What About a Hematoma Not Produced by Impact
There are times when a hematoma is produced without any sort of impact. In these cases the individual should definitely seek medical attention, especially if they are recurring or more than a single hematoma shows up without impact. This can be a sign of a much more serious condition.
Pernicious anemia can cause random bleeding, as there is no method of reasonable clotting available to the blood. Bleeding can happen randomly and sporadically. This type of a hematoma is often found suddenly and can look like the individual was the victim of a significant impact.
Other blood disorders can cause hematomas as well, including hemophilia. Bleeding inside the muscle tissue is not more likely to stop without ample platelets as bleeding on the outside of the skin.
Some diseases often produce random non-impact hematomas despite their lack of blood related understanding by the lay community. Hemorrhagic fever, which literally stands for bleeding fever, produces the tell tale bruising all over the body.
Other illnesses such as cancer that leave a loved on confined to a bed can be causes for such instances of blood related problems. Often the precursor to bedsores, the body might not be able to maintain a reasonable blood flow and the vessels begin to break. The bleeding into the tissue than turns the skin a dark color which can become very painful for the patient.
Medications can also cause sudden hemorrhages. Blood thinners have the capacity to create bleeding problems. While most of the bleeding problems are outside of the skin, there is the potential for bleeding to happen underneath the skin causing additional bleeding that results in a bruise.
Controlling the Pain of a Hematoma
A painful hematoma can be treated in different ways. Initially, you will want to apply a cold compress followed by a warm compress. This will help stop the bleeding and then help the blood vessels return to a normal rate of function. The compresses will generally help to stop the pain as well.
An over the counter pain reliever is usually all that is required to treat most common bruises. However, aspirin should be avoided as this thins the blood considerably and can help increase bleeding problems.
If the pain is severe and there is the potential for a broken bone you will want to see a physician. Rarely do physicians prescribe strong pain relievers for bruising, however bone bruises can be extremely painful and may require a higher functioning pain reliever.
Some physicians will recommend limiting the mobility of the impacted area to help prevent a secondary incident as well as help decrease pain. Something as simple as a soft splint or a wrap can put just enough pressure on the area to help decrease the pain. Stabilizing the area can not only help prevent the blood vessel from reopening and causing more pain but can help improve patient function while the hematoma heals.
The Risks of Hematomas
There are some hematomas that can be quite dangerous. Less than 1 percent of all hematomas are dangerous. Bleeding or bruising on the brain is very difficult to detect without medical treatment and is definitely very dangerous.
A subchronic hematoma happens when a pregnant woman develops bleeding that manifests in between the uterine wall and the fetus. This can be a highly dangerous hematoma for the fetus and most physicians will order to patient to stay in bed for the duration of the pregnancy. The risk is very high to the fetus and can result in spontaneous abortion. The risk is also present for the mother and can result in bleeding out after a miscarriage or birth.
Hematomas Are Part of Every Day Life
Most of the hematomas we see are just a part of every day life. Whether you play a sport or have regular run ins with the corner of the coffee table there is always a chance of creating a bruise or two. If you find that there are frequent, unwarranted, and unreasonably painful hematomas happening it’s best to see your physician.
The risk of developing a serious hematoma is relatively small. In most cases the bruise appears, the swelling develops, and a few days later the very painful area might be nothing more than a colorful mark on the skin.