What Are the Symptoms of Internal Bleeding?

Internal bleeding occurs when blood leaks from organs and blood vessels. If you suspect you have internal bleeding, it is important to get medical care as soon as possible. Internal bleeding can lead to death.

The symptoms of internal bleeding depend on where the bleeding occurs, how much a person is bleeding and the functions or structures of the body affected by bleeding. When a person has internal bleeding and blood leaks out of the blood vessels or the heart, this blood irritates tissues and produces pain and inflammation.

The following are some symptoms of internal bleeding listed by the site of the bleeding:

  • Intracranial (within the skull) bleeding: This can result from trauma such as the head being severely struck or shaken or from a leaking aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weakening and bulging out of a blood vessel. This type of bleeding usually is accompanied by pain. A change in mental function also may occur. These changes can include slurred speech, confusion, coma and stroke symptoms such as vision loss or one-sided weakness in the body. If the bleeding continues, the symptoms may become increasingly obvious.
  • Intra-abdominal (within the abdomen) bleeding: Sometimes pain is the only symptom of intra-abdominal bleeding. When much blood is lost, however, symptoms of shock and lowered blood pressure may occur, including feeling lightheaded or dizzy and having trouble catching your breath.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding: Symptoms can in vomiting bright red blood or blood that resembles coffee grounds. Bowel movements may be black and tarry.
  • Bleeding in the urinary tract between the kidney and the bladder: The main symptom is blood in the urine.
  • Bleeding deep within a muscle: This is extremely painful. Muscle cells can begin to die if not enough blood reaches the muscle cells because of a difference in blood pressure between that which is in the muscle and the pressure that is within the blood vessels. This usually occurs in the shin and the forearm. It can be caused by a broken bone.
  • Bleeding into the joints: This can cause extreme pain and a reduced range of motion. This occurs most often in patients on anticoagulants.

In addition to the symptoms listed above, a summary of other signs of internal bleeding include:

  • Pain in the head
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Stroke
  • Loss of vision
  • One-sided weakness in the body
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Bright red vomit or vomit that resembles coffee grounds
  • Black and tarry-looking bowel movements
  • Blood in the urine
  • Symptoms of shock such as lowered blood pressure, lightheadedness or dizziness or difficulty catching your breath
  • Muscles that become extremely painful, especially in the shin and forearm
  • Severe pain in the joints and decreased range of motion
  • A large bruise that continues to increase in size and you don't know the reason for the bruise
  • Bleeding from the nose that does not stop and occurs often
  • Coughing up blood or blood clots
  • Extraordinarily heavy menstrual bleeding that does not stop

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