Hemorrhage is a term designated to describe blood leakage from blood vessels. Depending on their characteristics, bleeding can be internal or external, via artery or vein. The severity of an individual’s condition depends on the site of the bleeding, the amount of blood lost and the symptoms that are associated with the bleeding.Seeking medical attention can help in diagnosing an individual’s condition, determining the most appropriate form of treatment and preventing symptoms from worsening.

What are the symptoms associated hemorrhage?

In the case of internal bleeding,  blood collects in tissues or cavities that do not communicate with the outside and therefore, the bleeding is not visible . It is often linked to major trauma conditions and the patient may experience other symptoms (such as signs of shock, hypotension, bruises and / or bruising, rapid breathing).

In the case of external bleeding, blood flows out from a laceration of the skin or a body orifice such as the nose, mouth, ears, or anus. The most common occurrence is the epistaxis, or bleeding from the nose.  Other conditions involve the following:

  • Otorrhagia: bleeding from the ear
  • Menorrhagia: abnormal heavy blood flow during menstruation
  • Vomiting blood: bleeding from the mouth that typically involves the digestive system
  • Hematura: blood in the urine
  • Hemoptysis: bleeding from the mouth that typically involves the airway
  • Rectal bleeding: bleeding from the anus that typically involves the upper or lower intestine

If the bleeding occurs via artery, blood will flow out abundantly and intermittently in synch with the heartbeat. The blood is oxygenated and thus presents itself as a bright red color. If the bleeding occurs via vein, blood flow is more limited, continuous and presents itself as a dark red color.

What to do

It is crucial to seek immediate medical assistance in any case involving suspicion of internal bleeding.

In case of epistaxis (nosebleeds), it is advisable to bend the head forward and pinch the nostrils with the fingers. Applying ice to the front or the back of the head may also help. 

In case of otorrhagia (bleeding from the ear), vomiting blood (bleeding from the mouth) or hemoptysis (coughing up blood), going to the emergency room is advised.
Even in the case of other bleeding, it is important to contact a doctor and determine the most appropriate form of treatment.

In case of blood hemorrhaging that involves raised bone lesions; the affected area should be cleaned with a handkerchief or gauze, and then wrapped up. Medical assistance may also be advised to prevent further complications from occurring.   

In case of bleeding via a vein, it is recommended to rinse the wound, apply slight pressure to it to stop the bleeding and apply a bandage over it to prevent an infection from occurring.

What not to do

Instructions on what not to do in cases involving blood hemorrhaging include the following:

  • Avoiding eating or drinking from the wound (such as the mouth)
  • Avoiding adding alcohol to the wound
  • Avoiding touching the wound with bare hands
  • Avoiding contact with the blood with bare hands, in order to prevent bacteria from entering the system
  • Avoiding certain medications which can increase blood flow and slow down the natural coagulation process