Unexplained bruising

Causes of unexplained bruising and when you should see your doctor


Earle Logan
BSc in Health Studies, Dip.Nut
@EarleLogan2
Ask Earle

An introduction to unexplained bruises

Bruises are small collections of blood in the tissues just under the skin. They result from injury or trauma causing damage to the small blood vessels lying close to the surface of the skin. Blood leaks out and spreads through the surrounding tissue.

Bruises appear initially as dark red patches and as they resolve, become purple, green or yellow in colour. If enough blood accumulates, bruises may also be associated with swelling under the skin.

We often injure ourselves without being aware of the incident and because of this, unexplained bruising is very common. Even a small knock can cause a little internal bleeding and a bruise, and when repeated, may result in bruises that we can’t even remember the cause of, especially if one is particularly active.

Unexplained bruising may also be described by people as bruising easily.

Should I worry about unexplained bruising?

In most cases, unexplained bruising does not represent a health problem.

Children and elderly people bruise more easily  and hence it is a very common issue in these age groups. Also, women bruise more easily than men.

Some people are just more prone to bumps then others, picking up bruises easily, many of which are unexplained. This is particularly so when one is busy or stressed or simply rushing around.

In certain circumstances, unexplained bruising can indicate an underlying health condition, some of which may be serious. Examples of diseases which might cause unexplained bruising include:

  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Diabetes
  • Graves' disease
  • Leukaemia

When to see your doctor

Most cases of unexplained bruising should not give rise to any cause for concern. However, if you are worried about your health in any way, you should seek the advice of your doctor.

In addition, it is important that you see your doctor urgently if you experience:

  • Multiple unexplained bruises on your body
  • Bruising more easily  than usual
  • Any pain and swelling around the bruised area with an unknown cause
  • Any recent blackouts or moments where you can’t remember where you’ve been or what you have done
  • Sudden headaches and bruising
  • Numbness, especially in the arms or legs.

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What's being asked

I suffer easy bruising to my forearms which make red patches. Can I use arnica to (a) prevent this and (b) to treat the bruises already there?

Hello. If you are taking blood thinning medication, please check with your Doctor or pharmacist ...
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My six year old is very active and she keeps bruising her legs and arms. What can I use to help with the pain and speed up the disappearance of the bruises.

Hi. Our Arnica Gel is licensed for pain, stiffness and bruises and is safe to use with children. If ...
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Here's what I recommend

As the A. Vogel Muscles and Joints advisor, I recommend Atrogel® Arnica gel to help ease the discomfort of bruising.

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Did you know?

Redheaded women are more prone to bruising than brunettes or women with black hair, according to researchers and it is also generally thought that women also bruise more easily than men.

7 reasons you bruise easily

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