15 Common Causes of Internal Bleeding

Anytime there is bleeding inside of the body it is called internal bleeding. Several symptoms signal a person may be suffering from bleeding inside of their body. Damage that occurs outside of the body is very easy to identify and treat. External trauma is also easy to diagnose. Anytime you are bleeding outside of your body, medical professionals can visually pinpoint the problem and take steps to remedy the issue. Internal bleeding is not always as easy to diagnose or treat. Internal bleeding is a serious concern that requires medical attention immediately.

In some cases, understand the cause of a person’s internal bleeding is simple. In other cases, the cause is harder to identify. Knowing the reason for the bleeding is the first step in formulating a solution or viable treatment. Some causes of internal bleeding are a result of direct trauma while others may be as complex as a disorder of the blood.

1. Ectopic Pregnancy

When a pregnancy develops outside of the uterus it is called an ectopic pregnancy. Anytime an embryo attaches outside the uterus it results in a life-threatening situation. During an ectopic pregnancy, a woman may feel excessive amounts of abdominal pain, intense cramping, and even vaginal bleeding. As the pregnancy develops the growth of the fetus will cause the fallopian tube to expand and eventually rupture which will result in internal bleeding.

In many cases, a ruptured fallopian tube will require emergency surgery to stop the internal bleeding. This tube may have to be partially or fully removed depending on the size of the rupture. This condition is remedied by using a laparoscope to remove the ectopic pregnancy or in the case of rupture, removing the damaged tube.

Any age woman can suffer from an ectopic pregnancy, however, those past their 30’s and those who have uterine scarring are more susceptible. 

2. Certain Medications

There are many medications that can prevent the body from clotting properly, People taking blood thinners, and other over-the-counter medications can also inhibit the body’s blood clotting ability. In the event of an accident or any other form of trauma, these medications will prevent the body from stopping the free flow of blood to the wound. This can lead to severe bleeding externally and internally. External bleeding can be stopped with the help of bandages or other medical grade sealants, however, internal bleeding is much harder to treat when the clotting ability is hindered due to medication.

Surgery is most often required to repair internal bleeding, however, with medication that prevents clotting, performing surgery increases the risks of excess bleeding or even death.

Many over-the-counter medications such as aspirin can also damage your stomach lining which will result in internal bleeding. Though not fatal, this bleeding can lead to ulcers or other health issues. 

3. Disease

The body creates proteins naturally that helps to clot the blood in the event of injury. Bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand disease and hemophilia prevent the proper production of these proteins which can cause internal bleeding that is difficult to treat. When there is too much clotting of the blood it leads to stroke or heart attack, while the inability to clot can cause excess bleeding or the inability to heal from internal bleeding.

Most blood-related diseases are almost exclusively inherited but in some very rare cases, they can develop spontaneously. These diseases develop as the body fights its own clotting factors which can result in chronic bouts of internal bleeding.

Bleeding disorders affect both men and women in equal amounts. Women who are pregnant and those with family members who have bleeding disorders are at the most risks of developing life-threatening instances of internal bleeding. 

4. Trauma

External trauma is one of the main causes of internal bleeding. There are several instances of trauma that can result in bleeding inside your body. Experiencing a car accident, falling from a great height, or even dropping a heavy object on your body can cause internal damage and bleeding. Blunt trauma is when your body collides with another object, most often at high speed.

The can be another person during a sports activity, or with a solitary object such as a tree or bench. Either way can result in broken blood vessels or damaged organs that bleed inside of your body.

Penetrating trauma such as being stabbed, shot, or falling on something sharp can also cause internal bleeding. Anything that enters the body has the potential to tear a hole into blood vessels which will result in bleeding internally. In most cases, some form of surgery is required to repair the damage. 

5. Aneurysms

When a person has weak walls in their blood vessels, they can start to form pockets of blood. In most cases aneurysms are asymptomatic. A burst aneurysm causes internal bleeding and they can be life-threatening. People who suffer from chronic high blood pressure are more prone to developing internal bleeding due to burst aneurysms. High blood pressure makes blood vessel walls weak which can lead to a bulge developing in the walls of the arteries.

Aneurysms and internal bleeding caused by them can happen in any part of the body. The most common areas for an aneurysm to develop is in the legs, spleen, brain, and aorta. Aneurysms cause pain, dizziness, and an increased heart rate as well as internal bleeding.

If a burst aneurysm is not treated quickly, it can lead to death from excessive internal bleeding. Men and people over the age of 60 are more at risk of developing aneurysms.

6. Gastrointestinal (GI) Complications

Any type of internal bleeding is cause for concern, however, those located in the gut are especially dangerous. There are several diseases both developed and inherited that may result in GI complications that lead to internal bleeding. Some common conditions that can cause internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract are; colitis, colon polyps, esophagitis, Crohn’s disease, and peptic ulcers. There are various treatments for each of these conditions that can help manage, reduce, or prevent internal bleeding, however, any bleeding that occurs should be met with swift action.

Symptoms of internal bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract are blood in the stool, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, vomiting blood and extreme cramping.

Certain medications can exacerbate these symptoms or even be the cause of some forms of gastrointestinal distress and gastrointestinal internal bleeding. The treatment for bleeding in the gut depends on the cause of the bleeding and the source. 

7. Broken Bones

When a person breaks a bone anywhere in their body it can be especially painful. In most cases, a broken bone is not causing very much concern however if you break a large bone you may suffer internal bleeding. Larger bones such as the femur may cause a significant amount of internal bleeding that can be life-threatening if not addressed immediately. Anytime you think you may have broken bone it is important to seek medical attention. Bone fractures that break the skin or compound bone fractures can also cause internal bleeding.

Surgery is often required to set the bones, repair the damage and stop the internal bleeding. If left unaddressed, excessive internal bleeding may lead to cardiac arrest or death.

An x-ray can identify the severity of the break and help medical professionals to identify where the bleeding originates. Fractures that are not properly set may also restrict proper blood flow and heal at an awkward angle. 

8. Surgery

Internal bleeding can occur as a result of a surgical incision that has not been properly sealed. Usually, once a procedure has been completed, the surgeon will check to ensure all bleeding has ceased and that all wounds are closed. In some cases, even an expert surgeon can miss something which will lead to internal bleeding following the operation. When internal bleeding occurs following surgery, it can be severe enough to be life-threatening.

Some signs of internal bleeding following operation are; low blood pressure, unstable life signs, erratic heartbeat, and visible wound leakage. Sometimes internal bleeding is not appeared directly after surgery.

In these instances, the internal bleeding is not recognized until the patient has been placed in recovery or even the next day. Internal bleeding that occurs following a medical procedure must be corrected as soon as possible to ensure a person’s vitals can be stabilized.

9. Kidney Disease

Internal bleeding can happen anywhere throughout the body. If you start to experience blood found anywhere in your urine or stool, then it’s likely that you have internal bleeding somewhere in your body making its way out – and the cause of this is usually related either to urinary tract health or to how healthy you have been able to keep your kidneys. 

Sometimes kidney malfunction or disease can cause blood present in the urine. This can range from only a few drops in the blood through to a more severe episode of bleeding. Both of these require immediate medical attention if they happen to you or someone in your care. The first step to find the cause is doing a few tests, usually blood and urine screens, to establish the extent of the problem before it can be treated.

Some kidney diseases can be treated with antibiotics, while severe cases might require surgery or transplantation in the more advanced stages.  

10. Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are common in the adult population, and they affect thousands of people all over the world every year. There are many different causes for what can give rise to a stomach ulcer in the first place. Some of the things that can cause an ulcer include stress and different dietary issues, although sometimes other conditions (such as particularly heavy drinking) can also lead to an ulcer. 

The first symptoms of a stomach ulcer are likely to include pain and discomfort which is likely to become worse over time as the condition progresses. As a stomach ulcer gets irritated further, it can later cause internal bleeding (which will show as blood present in stool, sometimes black and sometimes a lighter red). Left beyond this point, they are likely to cause issues like perforations in the stomach lining. 

If you suspect that you might have a stomach ulcer, switch to following a different diet (usually a more toned-down one) and see your doctor where severe symptoms like bleeding occur. 

11. Gastrointestinal Conditions 

Gastrointestinal conditions are any ones that affect the gut. This includes a vast variety of different health conditions including Crohn’s disease through to the more common bacterial stomach infection that most people associate with eating undone pork, fish or chicken. 

Sometimes these conditions can be temporary and treated with antibiotics and other methods that support the healing process, but many of the other conditions can be chronic. In cases of chronic conditions, very careful management of the conditions and their symptoms is needed and often regular appointments with a doctor have to be combined with the expert opinion of a nutritional specialist who can monitor the diet and make recommendations before issues start to show. 

If you have a gastrointestinal condition that hasn’t been diagnosed, you might notice stomach bleeding in severe cases and it can mimic the symptoms of a stomach ulcer or temporary virus when it isn’t. See your doctor for a proper diagnosis. 

12. Ruptured Cysts 

Cysts can be described as small collections of cells that can pack together anywhere in the body and cause a whole range of associated health issues including pain, inflammation, and swelling. If you have any history of cysts or cancerous tumors in your family, then you should automatically consider yourself at risk. There are many other health conditions that can cause cysts, some chronic and some not. 

Even though cysts are not cancerous, they can turn into cancer if they are left without treatment and diagnosis. They can also rupture where they are subjected to stress, which many people describe as a stabbing or tearing pain. 

Depending on where they are located in the body, ruptured cysts can cause internal bleeding that might only be obvious or apparent during a scan. 

Sometimes cysts can be diagnosed externally, although many times they cannot be outwardly seen. See your doctor and book the proper tests.

13. Endometriosis

Endometriosis (sometimes referred to by people who suffer from it as endo for short) is a common health condition affecting women that causes a range of uncomfortable and hormonally-related symptoms – and women who have the condition can be rendered sterile by the condition where it’s allowed to continue for long enough to cause damage to the body. 

Heavy bleeding and more painful periods are some of the symptoms you might experience if you have endometriosis. Where cysts form and rupture, it causes extra and additional pain that can be dangerous and lead to further issues such as an infection traveling through to the blood. 

Endometriosis can be worsened by many dietary factors, and research supports the idea that genetics has a lot to do with it. Should you have a history of painful periods and infertility in your family, see your doctor for the proper tests.    

14. Tuberculosis 

Tuberculosis is a health condition associated with symptoms like night sweats, a cough that doesn’t go away for weeks to months at a time, a lowered immune system that makes you more likely to get sick in other ways and sometimes coughing up blood in the more advanced stages of the condition (which happens when the fine blood vessels in the lungs rupture) 

While tuberculosis is more likely encountered in developing countries, it’s also becoming more common elsewhere in the world. All it takes is exposure to bodily fluids that carry the tuberculosis-causing compounds to contract the condition, and it can take several weeks to months before you start showing any symptoms, although it will likely be contagious to others far before this point. 

See your doctor where you experience any long-term illness whether or not bleeding is present. 

Tuberculosis isn’t just a condition related to your lungs, but can also spread to other parts of the body including the brain. 

15. Blood Thinners 

A blood-thinning medication is given for a range of different emergency situations and can also be prescribed for a variety of different medical conditions that are related to blood clotting and the heart. 

When they aren’t prescribed for any heart conditions, blood thinning medication can also sometimes be prescribed after major surgeries to avoid blood clots becoming a problem during the inactivity of the recovery period that’s usually spent in a hospital bed. 

In excess levels or strong doses, blood thinning medication can have serious side-effects that might include internal bleeding or blood refusing to clot. It’s obvious that this is potentially deadly.

When blood thinners don’t include pharmaceutical medication, thinning of the blood can also be caused by excess alcohol consumption. This is why people are advised not to drink alcohol or take medication such as aspirin or paracetamol before getting a tattoo – simply, it risks thinning the blood more than is healthy. 

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