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Bruising Easily? It Might be a Sign of a More Serious Condition 

Do you bruise easily? It might seem normal if you're someone who often bumps into things, but there could be underlying medical conditions if your bruises don't heal quickly.

Close-up of a bruise on the inner area of a woman’s right knee.

Bruises are normal, especially if you’re accident-prone. But if they start to appear out of nowhere, there may be an underlying cause for them. Find out why some people bruise more easily than others and how to prevent it.

What are the Possible Reasons You Are Bruising Easily?

Easy bruising can be a sign of a serious underlying condition. You should consult a healthcare provider if you find yourself with these: 

  • Bruises that recur frequently  
  • Unusually large bruises without remembering the cause 
  • Bruises that show no sign of improvement after a week  
  • Bruises that are located on the part of the body where an injury is unlikely to happen (trunk, back or face) 

Medications 

Are you taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen and ibuprofen? These can increase your risk of bleeding if you combine them with blood thinners, such as anticoagulants or antiplatelets

Prolonged steroid use may cause skin atrophy, which is the thinning of the skin. This can also make you vulnerable to bruising. 

Leukaemia 

There are several ways to tell leukaemia-related and normal bruising apart. The former often develops in the least expected areas of the body. These are such as the back, hands, and legs. In children, it may appear on the chest, face, head, ears, and buttocks.

Unexplained bruising coupled with a heavy period or frequent nose or gum bleeding can also indicate leukaemia. Normal bruising heals within a two to four-week period.

If your bruising lasts more than four weeks, it’s best to get a diagnosis from a healthcare provider.

Sarcopenia

Two young women help an older woman get back up on her feet after a fall.
Losing muscle mass and strength as they age makes older folks vulnerable to falls that bruise.

Ageing can provoke a gradual loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength and increase the risk of falling. Several studies show that one-third of people over 65 suffer falls annually.

15% of these falls see older folks experiencing bruises, dislocations, and muscle trauma.

Haemophilia 

A genetic blood disorder, symptoms of haemophilia are: 

  • Bleeding into the joints, causing pain, swelling and tightness in the joints 
  • Bleeding into the skin (bruising) or muscles, causing a build-up of blood in an affected area (haematoma)  

Diabetes

Having high glucose levels can narrow or stiffen your blood vessels. Because the amount of blood flowing to cells is reduced, it limits the absorption of oxygen and nutrients. Your bruises may also worsen if the cells contributing to wound healing don’t function properly. 

Diabetic neuropathy – nerve damage characterised by numbness – may prevent you from learning why you have bruises on your body. Diabetes will aggravate the production of enzymes and hormones that weaken the immune system. This can make you prone to infections and make bruise healing slow.

Body constitution imbalances 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), bruising is caused by Blood Stasis or the accumulation of Heat in the blood. 

“The Spleen is responsible for the digestion and absorption of nutrients and transforming them into blood and qi (vital life force). A Qi Deficient constitution will make it difficult for blood to remain within the vessels, and a person will bruise easily. The symptom may also be accompanied by chronic diarrhoea, heavy periods, or recurring miscarriages.” 

Eu Yan Sang Physician Peh Wei Jie

Available Treatments for Bruising 

Bruises tend to get better on their own, but you can take steps to speed up the healing process.

Use the R.I.C.E method

Woman wraps an elastic bandage around her right ankle
An injured foot must be wrapped in an elastic bandage and elevated on a pillow in-between each cold therapy.

The R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method eases severe bruising, but it must be done 48 to 72 hours after injury. You should avoid sports or activities that cause pain and discomfort during this time.

Apply ice to the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat every two to three hours. Between these applications, bandage the area with a splint or an elastic bandage before elevating it.

Practice diet therapy 

Avoid overeating as it strains the Spleen and makes you bloated and fatigued. It also decreases Spleen qi

Limit the intake of cold or chilled beverages to minimise the damage done to the organ system. You should also chew your food before swallowing and don’t work while eating.

Use herbal remedies and acupuncture

Nourishing the Spleen helps speed up the healing process and relieve accompanying symptoms. Add herbal ingredients like Chinese yam (shan yao, 山药), ginseng (ren shen, 人参), and Largehead Atractylodes Rhizome (bai zhu, 白术) to help. 

A licensed acupuncturist may work on acupoints along the Spleen meridian, such as san yin jiao (SP6, 三阴交) and yin ling quan (SP9, 阴陵泉). These points will boost the organ system’s vitality and aid blood retention.

Identifying why you may be bruising easily is the first step in addressing the symptom. Your healthcare provider can determine the most effective way to treat it. Traditional medicine can also help but consult a licensed TCM practitioner to get a suitable treatment. 

Do you bruise easily? Share your experience by leaving a comment below.

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. Bruises. [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 
  2. GoodRx Health. 2022. What Causes Easy Bruising? 6 Medications to Watch For. [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 
  3. Leukaemia Care. Bruising in leukaemia VS ordinary bruising. [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 
  4. National Library of Medicine. 2014. Sarcopenia in older adults. [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 
  5. MDPI. 2022. A Review on Aging, Sarcopenia, Falls, and Resistance Training in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is Hemophilia? [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 
  7. HealthMatch. 2022. What Causes People With Diabetes To Bruise Easily? [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 
  8. The Montreal Children’s Hospital. INSTRUCTIONS FOLLOWING AN ACUTE INJURY. [online] [Accessed 3 January 2023] 

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