Internal Bleeding – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prognosis

What Is Internal Bleeding?

It is a type of blood loss that occurs within the body. It may become an acute medical emergency that depends on the location of its occurrence (such as the stomach, brain and lungs). It can possibly lead to cardiac arrest and death if proper medical treatment is not quickly administered.

As internal bleeding occurs within the body, it may initially go unnoticed. If the blood loss is rapid, sufficient blood may accumulate to squeeze against the internal structures. It may also build up to take the form of a lump or discoloured bulge beneath the skin. Acute internal bleeding can lead to loss of consciousness and shock.

Signs and Symptoms of Internal Bleeding

The symptoms of internal bleeding usually change depending on the intensity and the location of blood loss. Slow rate of internal blood release can result in several discomforts. Some of the signs and symptoms of internal bleeding are

  • Paleness
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of energy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Gradual onset of anemia
  • Energy loss

Gastrointestinal bleeding may lead to vomiting and presence of blood in the feces. Bleeding in the urinary tract can also result in bloody urine.

Internal Bleeding Causes

This condition usually happens when damage to the vein or artery lets blood get away from the circulatory system and accumulate within the body. The quantity of blood that is lost depends on the extent of damage to an organ and the capillaries that supply blood to it. It also depends on the ability of the body to repair cracks in the blood vessel walls. The repair mechanisms that are available involve the blood coagulating system. They also include the power of blood vessels to enter into spasm so that flow of blood to a bruised area gets reduced.

The disease also affects people who use anti-clotting medicines like:

  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Heparin
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)

Individuals who take these drugs are more susceptible to bleeding than people who do not use them. Such individuals may suffer from severe bleeding even when they suffer from comparatively minor ailments or bruises. Anti-clotting medicines have several benefits that need to be balanced against the danger of blood loss.

Genetic defects in the blood clotting system can also be a cause of this problem in some people. In such cases, even small injuries may lead to severe bleeding. Von Willebrand Disease and Hemophilia are two examples of such genetic disorders.

Internal Bleeding Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Internal Bleeding can be done with the aid of imaging technology. It can help doctors determine the region of bleeding within the body. An Angiogram, which is a type of X-ray examination, helps detect the blood vessels that have suffered damage. A CT (Computerized Tomography) is another kind of X-ray testing that checks for bleeding in the brain as well as other parts of the body with the help of Radiation.

Internal Bleeding Treatment

The type of treatment is usually decided on after a proper diagnosis is made of the location of bleeding within the body.

Immediate medical attention may be required to stop bleeding in more acute cases. Surgical operation may also be required as an emergency cure to correct the damaged area. In minor cases, repair of the rupture may be carried out in the body even without medical treatment.

The initial treatment of any internal bleeding patient starts with assessment of the stability of the patient and ensuring that there is no problem in the physical system. This involves ensuring that

  • The airway of the patient is open
  • The patient is breathing
  • There is enough circulation of blood, which indicates the pulse rate as well as blood pressure is good

The classical treatment of this condition depends on the actual location of bleeding, the condition of the individual and the constancy of the patient. The basic aim of treatment involves discovering and blocking the source of bleeding. The objective of cure also includes repairing any bruises that may have occurred as a result of the bleeding.

Internal Bleeding Prognosis

This is a serious condition and may lead to dysfunction if blood squeezes the organs (as can happen in case of Hematoma). If there is no spontaneous cessation of bleeding, Hemorrhagic Shock may arise as a result of blood loss. This may give rise to brain damage and even death. Brain hemorrhage and death may also occur if there is pressure.

Internal Bleeding Surgery

The body may suffer from hemorrhage during a surgical operation. Hemorrhage refers to a release of blood from a pierced blood vessel. This leads to an internal bleeding within the human body. Unless surgery is performed immediately, the patient may be at risk. The bleeding may lead to further damage and surgery to address the original medical condition may get delayed.

Hemorrhage arising during operation may also result in cardiac arrest, a fatal disorder in which the ventricular chambers of the heart fail to contract, usually as a consequence of ventricular fibrillation. This gives rise to absence of heart beat leading to lack of oxygen and eventually, death.

Internal Hemorrhoid Bleeding

Internal bleeding can also be a consequence of bleeding hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid bleeding can either be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoid bleeding is usually painless and leads to bleeding of hemorrhoids within the rectum. There may be bleeding from internal hemorrhoids when they get irritated. If internal hemorrhoids are left untreated, they can lead to two acute forms of hemorrhoids. These are known as strangulated and prolapsed hemorrhoids. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are dilated internal hemorrhoids that push outside the anus. If there is spasm in the anal sphincter muscle it can snare a dilated hemorrhoid that is located outside the anal aperture and the blood supply is broken off. The hemorrhoid can turn strangulated in such cases.

How Do You Know If You Have Internal Bleeding?

This can be indicated by the presence of dark brown or red blood in feces. If hemorrhoids are the cause of bleeding, the condition can be painless even when there is blood in stools. If hemorrhoids are not the cause, loss of weight, drowsiness, pain and loss of appetite may be some of the apparent symptoms.


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