The sight of blood on any part of your body may cause you to worry. Bleeding (haemorrhage) is the loss of blood due to a broken blood vessel. Bleeding may be on the outside of your body (external bleeding) or inside (internal bleeding) your body. When bleeding is continuous, with or without efforts to make it stop, it becomes an emergency.
Usually, bleeding is a symptom rather than a disease itself. It is a sign of a condition or underlying disease. Its causes include damage to your body, medical conditions and medicines.
Damage to your body may be caused by blows, cuts, bruises, puncture wounds, crushing injuries or gunshot wounds.
Medical conditions that cause bleeding include:
- Haemophilia, which is an inherited bleeding disorder that impairs the body's ability to make blood clots, needed to stop bleeding.
- Cancers of any part of the body.
- Liver disease.
- Prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Low platelet count. Platelets are tiny blood cells that help your body form clots to stop bleeding.
- Vitamin K deficiency.
Medicines: Some medicines can cause bleeding or increase your chances of bleeding. Such medications include:
- Blood thinners (medications that are given to prevent the formation of blood clots).
- Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) used in the management or treatment of pain, fever and inflammation.
- Radiation therapy (concentrated radiation beams used to kill cancer cells).
Do not hesitate to visit the nearest healthcare provider if:
- You have a wound that continues to bleed after much effort to stop the blood.
- You are vomiting blood or notice blood in your urine or your stools appear dark brown.
- Your menstrual bleeding is more than usual.
- You feel lightheaded, severe headache, general weakness, unexplained exhaustion, pains in muscles and joints, low blood pressure, numbness, abdominal pain, vomiting, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, seizure, or fainting.
You can prevent bleeding by treating underlying conditions and preventing cuts and bruises. You can also reduce the severity of bleeding by identifying it early, getting treatment and applying pressure to the injury.
- Remain calm to control your heart rate and blood pressure because a higher heart rate or blood pressure increases blood loss.
- Leave the site of the accident to prevent more damage and increase bleeding. Use bandages and pads to absorb the blood lost.
- Find a comfortable position by sitting or lying to prevent fainting and raise the affected area high.
- Apply pressure to the wound by use of your hands wearing protective gloves, clean cloth or bandage.
- After the bleeding stops, visit the nearest healthcare provider.
If you think your bleeding is internal, this is a medical emergency. You may not know immediately, but symptoms to look for are light-headedness, dizziness, general weakness. You should seek medical attention without delay.
- Your healthcare provider may recommend medicines to stop your bleeding and prevent your wound from being infected.
- Your healthcare provider may carry out some operations to stop your bleeding if you have a large wound or are bleeding internally.
Applying pressure to a bleeding wound as simple as it may seem is a lifesaving hack and should not be taken lightly. Do not move if your back, head, neck, or leg is injured. Do not apply pressure to an eye injury. Bleeding can sometimes be fatal, you are obliged to take swift action when bleeding becomes increasingly life-threatening or difficult to control.