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Bruising

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Bruises are also known as contusions. They form when blood vessels rupture and blood seeps into the tissues, usually following a knock to the skin.

Symptoms

  • Skin discolouration that is initially reddish, becomes blue-purple, then takes on a greenish tinge before fading to brown, yellow and then reverting to the natural skin colour over approximately nine days
  • Discolouration may not be visible in individuals with dark skin tones
  • Pain, tenderness and swelling of the affected area
  • Use of the affected body part may be restricted, especially if a muscle is involved
  • Occasionally, a bruise develops into a haematoma, a large accumulation of blood in the muscle or beneath the skin that is firm and painful to touch. Seek medical advice.
  • Bruises deep within the muscle also sometimes cause complications, so see your doctor if you experience significant pain with any bruise
  • If bruising is accompanied by bleeding from the nose, gums or digestive tract, it is important to seek medical advice urgently

Causes

Bruises may be caused by anything that injures the blood vessels, allowing blood to leak out of them. Besides accidents, falls and other causes of trauma to the affected site, other causes may include:

  • Use of certain medicines (e.g. aspirin, warfarin and prednisone)
  • Bleeding disorders (e.g. haemophilia)
  • Other medical conditions, including cirrhosis, leukaemia and some forms of anaemia
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Deficiency of vitamin C

We become more susceptible to bruising as we get older and our blood vessels and skin become more delicate, so it’s not uncommon for older people to experience bruises of significant size without being able to recall any trauma to the tissue.

Women are more prone to bruising than men (perhaps due to hormonal differences).

Diet and lifestyle

  • In the first 24 hours after a serious bruise occurs, follow the RICE protocol of first aid:
    - Rest the affected part
    - Ice packs should be applied on and off
    - Compression to help stem the bleeding 
    - Elevate the affected part above the heart if possible
  • Later, moist heat may help to promote circulation and healing.
  • Include plenty of citrus and other fresh fruit in your diet to provide vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Berries are also considered especially useful for helping to maintain healthy circulation.
  • Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, so make sure you consume plenty of leafy green vegetables.
  • Creams or ointments made from arnica or comfrey are traditionally used to promote the healing of bruises, but should not be applied to broken skin.
  • If you bruise easily, it’s important that you can navigate around your home without knocking yourself. Keep you home neat and tidy, and avoid clutter – especially in passageways.

Important notes

  • Occasionally, bruising is a symptom of more serious underlying disease. Consult your doctor if:
    - You bruise very easily or from no apparent cause
    - Your bruises take longer than two weeks to heal
    - You experience bruising around the eye, navel or ear
    - You are concerned that your prescribed medicine may be causing or contributing to your bruising
    - Your bruise is accompanied by headache, pain or bleeding from the nose, gums or digestive tract

Get free personalised advice from our team of qualified naturopaths here

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Dear Judith, thank you for your enquiry. Medscape (online) defines a hematoma as “ a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel. It occurs because the wall of a blood vessel wall, artery, vein or capillary, has been damaged and blood has leaked into tissues where it does not belong. The hematoma may be tiny, with just a dot of blood or it can be large and cause significant swelling.” Treatment suggestions for a liver hematoma is beyond the scope of this service as this may potentially be a serious condition. I would suggest that you speak to naturopath in private practice and keep in regular contact with your health care professional. I trust this helps Judith and I wish you the best of health. Kind regards, Rebekah (a Blackmores naturopath)
Rebekah
Rebekah 24 Dec 2014
can u describe a subcutaneous hermatomia of the liver ? and best treatment?
thankyou
Anonymous
Anonymous 24 Dec 2014
Hi Harold,
Thank you for your post.
Please contact the Blackmores Naturopathic Advisory service on 1800 803 760, or alternatively you can email us at advice@blackmores.com.au so that we can discuss your condition, and any possible product recommendations with you further.
Kind regards,
Charmaine (Blackmores naturopath)
Charmaine
Charmaine 03 Oct 2014
I have a condition known as "senile purpura" which results in unsightly bruising of the arms from a relatively minor touch. It appears a product called Purpurex had very good results in the US, but I do not believe it is on the market any longer. Apart from their own formulation the main ingredients appear to be vitamin c, bioflavins, and quecertin. Your website mentions the first two ingredients but not quecertin. You also mention the use of zinc which I have found in another US article can
assist with Purpura and the loss of collagen.
I would think you have encountered customers with Purpura before. if so what have you advised them?
What is quecertin and if it is useful for this condition do you have a supplement?
Any other advise please.
Anonymous
Anonymous 03 Oct 2014
Dear Maria, thank you for your post. You certainly are fortunate to have a healthy complexion! It is unusual that you have begun to experience easy bruising, I would recommend that you inform your doctor of this change. Easy bruising may well be associated with anaemia so it would be prudent to request a full blood test by your GP.
Nutrients that are specific for capillary strengthening are vitamin C and bioflavanoids. Vitamin A and zinc are also essential for skin health and healing, whereas fish oil also helps to nourish the cell walls.
Another helpful herb would be (an extract) of Grapeseed.
Grapeseed contains a rich source of plant flavonoids called oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs). OPCs have many beneficial effects in the body, including stabilising capillary walls and preventing increases in capillary permeability. Connective tissue, blood vessels and capillary walls are all supported structurally by a collagen matrix. Grape seed extract supports collagen structures and helps to prevent destruction of collagen, as it promotes the reinforcement of the natural cross-linking of collagen fibres. This may be very useful for you to try, bearing in mind that changes in skin structure is a slow process and any positive effect may not be seen for a couple of months.
I trust this has been helpful Maria, please call the Naturopathic Advisory service if you would like any further help or information. Kind regards, Rebekah

Rebekah
Rebekah 28 Jan 2014
Hi! I am a 57 year old female.

I have been blessed with a healthy complexion...however I have noticed I started bruising easily on light touch; I also have a history of anaemia; is there a particular product you would recommend?

Anonymous
Anonymous 28 Jan 2014
Hi Mary, Yes if you are unsure it is always best to seek medical assessment from your GP, to ensure it is treated adequately & to avoid infection. I hope it heals well. Kind regards,
Emma
Emma 19 Jul 2013
I pinched my finger in a steel box and now have a horrendous bruise which is extremly sore swollen and tender should I seek medical attention I am 64
Anonymous
Anonymous 18 Jul 2013