Hematoma

by Sam Malone


A hematoma is a condition characterized by pooling of blood anywhere in the body. The most common hematoma is known as subdural hematoma, which occurs when the blood begins to pool on the brain’s surface. They are usually a result of serious head injuries. A sudden onset of hematoma is known as acute hematoma, whereas chronic hematoma is that in which the blood pools on the brain’s surface in a slow but steady manner. In acute hematomas, the bleeding fills the head very fast, increasing the intercranial pressure and causing several other complications. This may also begin to compress brain tissue and cause brain damage, if not treated immediately. Acute hematomas may eventually cause death.

What Causes Hematomas?

Hematomas occur when the tiny veins in the body stretch or tear and blood begins to trickle from them. This blood pools and collects in specific areas. In case of the elderly, the veins may begin to stretch and tear without any surface injury. In the elderly, brain atrophy is among the most common causes of subdural hematomas. Some people may also experience spontaneous hematomas, which cannot be associated with any specific cause. Some of the factors that may increase the risk of developing hematomas include recurrent falls, occupations or lifestyles involving repeated injuries, long-term alcohol abuse, medications such as blood thinners and anticoagulants, and old age.

Treatment Options: A hematoma is considered a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention and emergency medical care. A subdural hematoma may be fatal if not treated immediately, so emergency surgery is recommended in most cases. The treatment involves drilling a small hole in the skull to allow the pooled blood to drain and relieve the intercranial pressure. If there are large pools of blood or large clots, it may require a more intensive surgery. Doctors may also prescribe medications for the treatment of hematomas, depending on their location and severity. Anti-inflammatory medications may be used to reduce and control swelling.

How To Care For Hematomas

Here are some ways you can deal with the symptoms of hematomas. However, this is a serious medical condition, and you should not substitute home care for any kind of medical treatment.

  • Protect Yourself: Be careful not to fall or injure yourself. In old age, falling not only causes hematomas, it may also cause broken bones that are difficult to heal. In addition to this, also protect your skin. Any trauma to your skin like bumping or pulling of skin may also cause pinching and damaging of veins, which could then lead to hematomas.
  • Use Direct Pressure: If you are bleeding, always use direct pressure to stop the bleeding. This can help stop the bleeding without further injuring any veins or causing blood pooling in any area.
  • Prevent drug reactions: If you are experiencing any drug reactions, consider talking to your doctor and get a different prescription for your problem.
  • Hot and Cold Compress: Hematomas occur when blood begins to pool outside the blood vessels. Applying hot and cold compressions alternatively can dilate and contract the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow normally and the pooling to cease. It is important to alternate hot compresses with a cold compress. Simply apply the warm compress on the bruised area for about 5 to 7 minutes, after which alternate it with a cool compress for 5 to 7 minutes. Keep repeating until the skin changes color and the bruising appears to have faded. This is ideal for bruising on specific areas of your body such as the lip, elbow, knee, or any other muscle. Ice or heat should never be applied in isolation or it could worsen the symptoms and cause further complications.
  • Avoid Compression: Do not massage or compress the affected area of the body. Hematomas cause increased pressure in a localized area. As the blood begins to pool in beneath the surface of the skin, it causes increased pressure in the particular area of the body. Massaging the area can only make matters worse and cause worsening of the symptoms. You may feel that massaging the area may improve blood flow and allow the pooled blood to circulate, but this usually does not happen.
  • Topical Applications: If there is inflammation or external injury to the skin, wash with an antiseptic wash, and apply a topical corticosteroid cream to relieve the inflammation. External injuries should be carefully treated so that they do not get infected. You can also use rosemary extracts or rosemary essential oil on the area to relieve inflammation and prevent infection. Topical applications like sweet clover, arnica and comfrey can also help with the pain and inflammation.

Diet Remedies: Another natural remedy for hematomas is diet. Certain foods have blood thinning properties that can naturally improve blood flow and help treat the hematoma. Include fruits like peaches, currants, cherries, plums, grapefruits, prunes, melons, raisins, lemons, oranges, apricots and nectarines in your diet as all of these can naturally thin your blood. Avoid consuming berries and vegetables like potatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and onions as these can increase bruising. If you are prone to spontaneous hematomas, you should also avoid consuming sunflower seeds, fish, spicy foods, and wheat germ oil.

Consume foods that are rich in vitamin C as these can increase your immunity and help repair damaged cells. Vitamin C deficiency can increase instances of bruising and contusions, so make sure that you are not deficient. If you are prone to bruising and hematomas, you can also consider consuming flavonoids or flavonoid supplements. Avoid foods and medications that thin your blood too much and increase the likelihood of getting spontaneous hematomas and bruising. High dosages of vitamin E supplements, red clover, valerian, cayenne pepper, St. John’s wort, and garlic can thin your blood too much, causing increased risk of developing hematomas. As you age, you should start consuming less of these foods as ageing can further increase the risk of atrophy and hemotomas. Other herbs and spices that you should avoid include turmeric, feverfew, Echinacea, melatonin, licorice root, meadowsweet, ginseng, white willow bark and ginger.

Once again, it is important to keep in mind that most kinds of hematomas are a medical emergency and should not be taken lightly. You should immediately rush to a hospital and get emergency care before you begin to use over-the-counter medications or home remedies. These medications and remedies are only to supplement medical care and should only be used after consultation with your doctor.

References:

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000713.htm

 


Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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