Our skin is one of the most important parts of our body and demands good care and nourishment from time to time. There are several problems related to the skin that often go unnoticed, some of them indicating or warning us about serious diseases. Ecchymosis is one such skin ailment about which not many people know.
Definition:- It is the discoloration of the skin resulting from bleeding underneath the skin, usually a result of trauma to blood vessels or bruising.
WHAT IS ECCHYMOSIS?
It is a skin problem that is characterized by a red or blue discoloration of the skin. It does not appear to be raised like acne and is a result of one or more underlying medical conditions. Ecchymosis is not a bruise, though it appears to be like one. It is a subcutaneous spot which is a result of blood fleeing into the tissues from broken blood vessels. It is usually bigger than 1 cm in and in some cases as big as 4-5 cm.
It’s Important to Distinguish between a Bruise and Ecchymosis
To get the right treatment and medications from your doctor, it is highly essential to distinguish between a bruise and Ecchymosis. A bruise is clearly a result of blood leaking into a thin layer of skin as a result of trauma while Ecchymosis is caused by leaking of blood from ruptured blood vessels and is a seldom a result of an underlying medical condition or complication.
Purpura and Ecchymosis
Purpura is usually a purplish patch of skin which is also a result of leaking of blood from ruptured blood vessels into a thin layer of skin and a bigger size Purpura is known as Ecchymosis.
It usually occurs in the skin and mucous membranes and is rarely found in other organs of the body. Though there are certain symptoms that clearly indicate that a person is suffering from Ecchymosis, there are few symptoms that may be a result of previous or on-going medical conditions which resulted in Ecchymosis. Hence, it is important to distinguish between the two before you arrive at a conclusion and begin self-treatment.
The general symptoms are:
- Sudden onset of reddish or purplish discoloration of the skin
- Tenderness of the discoloured area with pain even on a slight touch
- Appearance of a reddish patch in the skin followed by a bluish/purplish patch in the next 3-4 days
- On and off pain in the affected area
- Inflammation of the area around the affected patch of skin with a red raised border
- Appearance of more patches around the Ecchymosis patch after 6-7 days of the appearance of the first patch
If you are facing any of these symptoms i.e. a prominent patch of discoloured skin which does not seem to get better even after 5-6 days, visit a doctor immediately.
It is not a disease, disorder, condition or syndrome. It is simply a symptom of one or more underlying conditions that need immediate medical attention. The pattern of Ecchymosis varies from person to person. In some cases is it absolutely mild and sometimes even goes unnoticed while in case of people having serious medical conditions, it can be really complex and painful.
Ecchymosis is not a life threatening condition and one should not get panicky about it. For instance, it can occur during waxing sessions at a salon. In case of women who have loose skin, waxing is sometimes a very painful experience. Pulling off the waxing strip without holding the skin tightly can cause Ecchymosis instantly.
Check out this list of some serious diseases and disorders that can cause Ecchymosis and require immediate medical attention and treatment:
Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in the body. These cells are found in the bone marrow and are very significant as regards the immune system. Anomalous growth of these cells is called Multiple Myloma which is a life threatening disease. Presence of aberration in the blood due to abnormal growth of plasma cells often leads to Ecchymosis.
Leukaemia is another form of blood cancer which not only involves the blood cells but also the tissues. It can be acute and chronic and in case of chronic leukaemia, some people do not get any symptoms because of which the disease often goes unnoticed. Bleeding and bruising are some of the symptoms of this disease which finally lead to Ecchymosis. The increase in the level of wbc (white blood cells) enhances the growth of Ecchymosis.
ACUTE RENAL FAILURE
Acute Renal Failure is a complete degeneration of the kidney which ultimately results in the loss of vital functions. As the kidney stops expelling waste products from the body, their accumulation starts in the blood resulting in Ecchymosis.
Liver Cirhossis is caused when the liver starts degenerating and functioning abnormally. The impairment of liver causes high degree of changes in the blood’s composition which ultimately displays itself in the form of Ecchymosis.
It is important to keep a note of your symptoms and discuss them with your doctors before the diseases become life threatening. Ecchymosis comes as a very handy sign and symptom in early detection of some of the diseases mentioned above.
GREY TURNER’S SYNDROME
Grey Turner’s Syndrome refers to the discoloration of skin in the area of the body between the last rib and the starting of the hip. It is a bluish-purplish discoloration which is the result of retroperitoneal haemorrhage or bleeding of the lining of the abdominal cavity.
Some other causes include:
- Ageing skin
- Allergic reactions
- Medical treatments like radiation and chemotherapy
- Blood thinning medicines like Aspirin, Heparin or steroids
In most of the cases, it does not require treatment and resolves on its own at home. In case of stinging pain and acute inflammation, it requires treatment which may include the treatment of the main cause of the reaction i.e. the underlying medical condition which gave birth to it.
Below are some practices that may come handy in the treatment of Ecchymosis:
- Use ice packs
Application of ice packs/compresses blocks the leaking of blood from ruptured vessels which helps in preventing Ecchymosis to spread to other areas of the skin. Simply take a commercial ice pack or put some ice in a plastic bag, cover it with a towel or thick cloth and apply it on the bruised area. Cold compress also helps in reducing inflammation and pain.
- Rest for a few days
Doing rest is one of the most important practices in the treatment of Ecchymosis. It helps the tissue heal on its own and repair which in turn prevents Ecchymosis from spreading further.
- Elevate the affected area
Elevating the affected area helps in gaining proper blood flow and reducing inflammation.
- Use pain relievers to ease inflammatory pain
Consult your doctor for pain relievers like ibuprofen and other analgesics. Remember not to take any medication without consulting your doctor as it can lead to other fatal side effects.
- Slight pressure on the affected area or massage
Simply applying slight pressure on the affected area or gently massaging it can prevent bleeding.
- Get your underlying medical condition treated
Last and indeed the most important point, get your check-ups done and visit your doctor or GP to know more about an underlying condition that caused Ecchymosis. Treatment of such ailments can also help in preventing Ecchymosis.
If you are dealing with Ecchymosis, you must follow a healthy balanced diet for nourishment of the body and quick healing.
- Make garlics and onions, top priorities in your diet. Natural garlic can help in quick healing as it has natural anti-microbial properties.
- Citrus fruits and vegetables which are a powerhouse of Vitamin C and Iron enhance tissue building and facilitate tissue healing. Depend more on fruits and vegetables like cauliflower, lemon, broccoli, oranges and sweet potatoes.
- Turmeric is a must! Take turmeric with honey or prepare a juice comprising of organic turmeric, cucumber, carrot, ginger and coconut to get rid of any inflammation associated with Ecchymosis.
- Drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated throughout the day. You can also opt for healthy fluids like herbal teas, fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
WHEN TO CONTACT A PHYSICIAN?
Immediately contact your health care provider, if you notice any of the following:
- Sudden bleeding inside the skin with no apparent reason
- Unexplained Ecchymosis patches that do not go away even after 5-6 days
- Acute redness of Ecchymosis patches
- Acute inflammation and pain in movement
- Rapid increase in Ecchymosis patches in just a few days
Below are some of the pictures that will help you in understanding what does it look like: