Black and blue
January 24, 2006 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I never used to bruise easily, and now I do...

Before you all tell me to go see a doctor, I have done so, and after a battery of blood tests, nothing was found. I would therefore like to investigate this further on my own.

I went from someone who hardly ever bruised to someone who bruises very easily. I cannot think of any significant changes to my diet or anything.

Just to add a datapoint that may be coincidence or not: the woman I am currently with (and was with when I started noticing this change) bruises VERY easily and had this characteristic before she met me.

This is quite a mystery to me, and I appreciate anything any of you have to add to this. Thank you in advance.
posted by eas98 to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
You've adapted to a diet more like hers and said diet is low in iron, which affects blood clotting.

Or maybe it's a sign of age? Are you old?
posted by tiamat at 11:41 AM on January 24, 2006

I'm an easy bruiser; always have been. Can't help you much with why you might have developed this recently, but in the meantime you might have some luck with using Arnica cream to at least minimize the bruising. I use it right away whenever I bang my shin or knee into something (a sadly frequent event), and I've noticed a definite decrease in discoloration and persistence of bruises.
posted by scody at 11:49 AM on January 24, 2006

I used to never ever bruise, except when it was seriously warranted (e.g.: majorly fell off my bike as a kid), until maybe a few years ago (early 20s). Now I do, but I wouldn't say it's dramatic -- it still takes some kind of a trauma (like bumping my shins on the bedframe). The only factor I can think of in my case is age. Maybe that's the case with you, and it's just a coincidence that you're with an easy bruiser?
posted by penchant at 11:57 AM on January 24, 2006

He said the blood tests showed nothing; those test would includes iron levels.

I've had this same issue. Three years ago, I seldom ever bruised unless I took a really bad shot, but now I bruise much more easily. I'm only 32. It's getting to be tiresome, as I do martial arts, and my forearms routinely bruise more, and the bruises take longer to dissipate. I asked my doctor the same question, "Is this just because I'm getting older?" She responded, "Give me a break, you're not that old."

I had the doctor run a bunch of tests, but everything came back normal. Normal iron, no anemia. A friend of mine said she had the same thing happen if she didn't take her vitamins (she's a vegetarian), but that doesn't apply, as I eat meat, get plenty of iron, and take vitamins.

I wish I had an answer for you, but I'm still trying to figure it all out myself.
posted by Gamblor at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2006

You aren't taking aspirin regularly are you? Or anything that might contain aspirin (a cold medication or something). I know this is incredibly obvious, and I'm sure you're ruled it out, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I believe that alcohol can also make you bruise more easily, have you upped your intake?

Also, are you sure you aren't just noticing bruises more? Is it possible that you just never thought about it much until you were with this woman, and her bruises made you pay attention to your own?
posted by crabintheocean at 12:15 PM on January 24, 2006

Oh yeah, seconding the aspirin/ibuprofen thing. After major jaw surgery last year, I was bruised extremely badly -- turned out that my doc's recommendation of ibuprofen as being better for the pain than tylenol had exacerbated the problem, but it took a week or two for the lightbulb of obviousness to come on.

Also, in addition to getting enough iron, make sure you're getting enough Vitamin K.
posted by scody at 12:31 PM on January 24, 2006

Damn, it might just be that simple. I don't know about eas98, but in my case, I do take lots of ibuprofen.

I knew aspirin is an anti-coagulent, but I didn't realize ibuprofen had the same mechanism of action. They both lower platlet aggregation.
posted by Gamblor at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2006

Add another one to the list of "Used to not bruise, now bruise from a hard tap" answerers. I can't help you either, but if it's any comfort it doesn't seem to be evidence of any major medical problem.
posted by schroedinger at 1:06 PM on January 24, 2006

Thanks for all the replies so far!

More info:

I am 35 now, but started noticing this about 3 years ago.

I take no pills whatsoever. Maybe an aspirin once a month.
posted by eas98 at 1:27 PM on January 24, 2006

A number of things can cause bruising. Low potassium comes to mind, but it should have shown up on the blood tests. For the person using ibuprofen, you can get many of the same actions out acetaminophen without the blood thinning.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:31 PM on January 24, 2006

I have no idea what is causing it, but you can take a vitamin supplement called Bromelain that will dramatically reduce your tendency to bruise. Plastic surgeons recommend this before any kind of facial surgery.
posted by slim at 1:33 PM on January 24, 2006

Here is a link to many of the common causes of bruisability.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:35 PM on January 24, 2006

i know you've already mentioned that you've seen a doctor, and that blood tests were ordered and have come back as normal. i'm innerested in which tests were ordered.

a proper battery of tests in this case would include such things as: PT/INR/aPTT, bleeding time, LFTs, CBC, peripheral smear, aggregation assay and maybe tests for clotting factors such as von Willebrand factor.

things to consider: diet, drugs, lifestyle. i know you've already stated that you rarely take any pills, and you prolly know if you've been getting beat up regularly. less common things to think about include: leukemia, ITP, TTP, a bunch of genetic disorders, liver problems, spleen problems, and the like.

you've noticed this development as being recent, and tied to your current relationship. a transmissable cause is possible, such as hepatitis, but isn't definite.

helpful information would include: where the bruises crop up, how big they are, whether or not you've had pinpoint or small dot-like bruising, bleeding from anywhere else, or any other symptoms. basically, a full medical history and physical would help me out. 8P

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: you don't seem to be satisfied with the answers you've received. maybe you should see someone else, or be referred to a hemotologist/oncologist? my gut feeling when i read yr post was: "this ain't cool."
posted by herrdoktor at 3:25 PM on January 24, 2006

"He said the blood tests showed nothing; those test would includes iron levels."

Not really. The blood iron test would only show something if the result was outside the normal range. Going from high iron to low iron (for you) is presumably all within the normal range for the wider population, and thus the blood iron test would come back "normal".

If you can compare it to the results of an iron test taken several years ago, then it might be useful.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:22 PM on January 24, 2006

In my case, I bruised so easily that if someone firmly grasped my arm with their hand, you could see 5 purple fingerprints for a week. I tried potassium and some other things, to no avail. My personal trainer recommended I take Vitamin C tablets for 2 weeks, and it worked.

I was a smoker at the time, and he said smoking interferes with Vitamin C intake, so smokers usually need to supplement.
posted by Sorcia at 8:41 PM on January 24, 2006

Vitamin C increases iron absorption, so the two may be related.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:51 AM on January 25, 2006

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