Italian woman sweats blood; baffles doctors

Image via SCMP

A young woman in Italy suffering from a rare and mysterious disease that causes her to sweat blood left doctors baffled.

The 21-year-old Italian explained to her doctors that during the last three years she had been periodically bleeding from her face and palms, without cuts or skin lesions.

These episodes of bleeding generally lasted between 1 and 5 minutes and were more intense when she was experiencing episodes of stress, as per a story by Science Live.

During her hospitalization, the doctors observed “the discharge of blood-stained fluid from her face,” according to a report published October 23 in the Canadian Medical Association journal.

She was diagnosed with a rare condition in which blood oozes from intact skin and membranes, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).

According to Canadian medical historian Jacalyn Duffin, a medical historian and hematologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, this condition has been reported over the past centuries, although some physicians have expressed doubts about its existence, according to its publication in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

However, after reviewing recent cases of hemathidrosis – 28 cases in the past 13 years – Dr. Duffin concluded that the disease actually exists.

“After all the research that I’ve done, I am convinced of the plausibility and the possibility that it exists,” she said.

However, no one knows what causes the disease. Some researchers have hypothesized that increased pressure in the blood vessels leads to the passage of blood cells through the sweat gland channels. Others speculate that the condition may be the result of a body reaction, which usually occurs when people experience sudden fear or stress.

This response triggers the release of certain hormones that make a person more alert. But in rare cases, it can also cause the rupture of small blood vessels, which results in bleeding.

As for the Italian woman, her tests showed that it was indeed blood on the face, not “colored sweat”, which can occur under certain conditions.

The woman was treated with a medication for high blood pressure, which has already been used to treat hemathidrosis.

After treatment, she felt a “reduction” in bleeding, even though it did not completely stop, according to the report. She also received antidepressants.