Not a nightmare: It’s possible to sweat blood

hematohidrosis patient
In an article published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, doctors in Florence, Italy, describe the case of a young woman with a history of spontaneous bleeding from her palms and face. Image credit: Canadian Medical Association Journal

medical case report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal from Italian researchers last year details a 21-year-old patient who began mysteriously sweating blood from her face and palms. The condition had been ongoing for about three years, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports, when she decided to check herself into a hospital — needless to say, the doctors were perplexed. Strangely, the young woman was otherwise totally fine. She wasn’t sick, hadn’t been injured recently, and had no history of medical problems.

In a paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Roberto Maglie and Marzia Caproni, say that the patient seems to have been experiencing hematohidrosis, a mysterious condition characterized by blood commingling with sweat.


Hematohidrosis isn’t entirely understood, but a 2013 paper suggests that it’s related to stress. Tangles of blood vessels surround the sweat glands in our faces, and during periods of intense stress, hormones cause these vessels to constrict. When the stress passes, they open up again, and in some cases, the process could happen quickly enough to cause some of the vessels to burst. The leaking blood mixes with sweat and oozes out through our pores.

Related article:  Some animals engage in heinous behaviors — cannibalism, eating offspring, torture and rape. Why did evolution make that happen?

Reports of bloody sweat go back to the time of Aristotle, according to medical historian Duffin, though it can often be difficult to separate mentions of religious tales like the crucifixion of Christ from actual case reports.

Read full, original post: Yes, You Can Sweat Blood

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