How To Tell The Difference Between A Bruise And Hematoma

Everybody tends to get bruised up from time to time, but how exactly does a bruise come about? A bruise can take place when you injure your skin, as per WebMD. Microscopic tears occur in the blood vessels under the surface of the skin, allowing blood to leak into surrounding tissues. This blood takes on the characteristic color that we think of like a bruise. First, the skin appears red but may turn black and blue within a few hours. Later, it will appear more yellow or green as the bruise begins to heal and the blood is reabsorbed by the body. There might also be tenderness in the area of the bruise. Other terminologies you might hear used to describe a bruise are "contusion" or "ecchymoses," according to MedlinePlus.

The Cleveland Clinic notes that there are several different types of bruising. For example, petechiae are tiny red dots of bleeding under the skin. They occur when very small blood vessels called capillaries burst open, usually due to infections or medication reactions, according to Healthline. Senile purpura, on the other hand, is bruising that occurs in older people. It is related to the fact that the skin becomes dryer and thinner as we grow older, says the Cleveland Clinic.

How hematomas relate to bruises

Hematomas are another specific type of bruising, according to the Cleveland Clinic. A hematoma occurs when someone undergoes a major trauma, such as a car crash. Unlike a common bruise, a hematoma is a more serious injury because it involves the breakage of a major blood vessel.

A hematoma can be life-threatening, especially if it involves bleeding within the brain, as per Emerald Coast Urgent Care. People with a brain bleed might experience symptoms such as seizures, unconsciousness, paralysis, slurred speech, confusion, dizziness, vomiting, or headaches.

Nevertheless, minor bruises can be treated at home using the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). In addition, Tylenol can be given for the pain. However, if you have a hematoma, you may potentially need urgent medical attention. RxList suggests that you seek care immediately if your symptoms are severe or the hematoma is continuing to grow larger. Surgical drainage of the hematoma may be required.