Bleeding into the skin


Definition

Bleeding into the skin can occur from broken blood vessels that form tiny red dots (called petechiae). Blood also can collect under the tissue in larger flat areas (called purpura), or in a very large bruised area (called an ecchymosis).

Alternative Names

Ecchymoses; Skin spots - red; Pinpoint red spots on the skin; Petechiae; Purpura

Considerations

Aside from the common bruise, bleeding into the skin or mucous membranes is a very significant sign and should always be checked out by a health care provider.

Redness of the skin (erythema) should not be mistaken for bleeding. Areas of bleeding under the skin do not become paler (blanch) when you press on the area, like the redness from erythema does.

Causes

This EM Should be displayed at the top of the article section "Causes"

Many things can cause bleeding under the skin. Some of them are:

Home Care

Protect aging skin. Avoid trauma such as bumping or pulling on skin areas. For a cut or scrape, use direct pressure to stop the bleeding.

If you have a drug reaction, ask your provider about stopping the drug. Otherwise, follow your prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause of the problem.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your health care provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will examine you and ask questions about the bleeding, such as:

The following diagnostic tests may be performed:

References

Schafer AI. Approach to the patient with bleeding and thrombosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 171.

Weber DJ, Cohen MS, Rutala WA. The acutely ill patient with fever and rash. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 57.

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