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Why Do I Bruise So Easily?

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

It happens to everyone You bang your toe on the closet door, and before too long, it turns a garish black and blue But sometimes you spot a bruise and you can't figure out how you got it Check out these common things that may cause those blotches and learn how to prevent them

Getting Older

Do you bruise more easily now than you did when you were younger? Totally normal As you age, your skin gets thinner and loses the protective layer of fat that acts as a cushion when you bump into something Also, your blood vessels get more fragile Both of these things mean you get more bruises

Some Medicines and Supplements

If you take aspirin or a blood thinner, don't be surprised by the occasional black-and-blue mark Some supplements, like fish oil and ginkgo, can do it too

Steroids like prednisone can also cause easy bruising, because they thin the skin If you notice this happening, don't stop taking your medication, but do talk to your doctor about it

Low Vitamin C

This nutrient is essential for healing, so if you don't get enough, you may bruise easily You may also notice it takes a long time for cuts or scrapes to get better

It's rare to have extremely low levels of vitamin C, but it's more likely to happen if you're older or you smoke

It Runs in Your Family

If you, your mom, and your sister all turn black and blue from the tiniest bump, it may be a family thing Some people (it's usually women) just have more fragile blood vessels, and that makes them more likely to bruise, especially on their upper arms, thighs, or butt It may seem scary, but if you feel fine and don't have any other symptoms, it's probably nothing to worry about

Sun Damage

If you've been a sun worshipper all your life, you may notice your skin bruises more easily That's because over time, the sun slowly weakens your skin and the tiny blood vessels underneath it

These bruises are a little different They aren't caused by bumping into something, they don't usually feel tender when you touch them, and they take longer to heal You're most likely to see them on the backs of your hands and arms

Blood Disorders

Some conditions can make it harder for your blood to clot One you've probably heard of is hemophilia These are rare, but they can be life-threatening if you don't treat them

Blood disorders usually cause symptoms other than bruising If you're having nosebleeds for no reason, if your gums bleed a lot after you brush or floss, or if small cuts or scrapes seem to bleed heavily, call your doctor

Intense Exercise

An extra-hard workout can sometimes cause bruises That's because you're pushing your muscles with so much effort that it leads to tiny tears in your blood vessels

A Zumba class or 30 minutes on the treadmill aren't likely to cause a problem, but weightlifting or running a marathon can do it If you notice marks on your arms or legs after an intense workout, try the "RICE" method:

  • Rest
  • Ice the area
  • Compression (lightly wrap the muscles)
  • Elevation (raise your arms or legs above your heart)

Heavy Drinking

We don't mean you woke up with a black-and-blue mark because you bumped into something after one too many cocktails But if you often drink a lot of alcohol and you tend to bruise easily, it may mean you've got liver problems

The liver makes proteins that the blood needs for clotting, so if it's not doing its job, you may bleed or bruise more easily It could be a sign that you've got a condition called cirrhosis It's a serious illness, so see your doctor

Some Types of Cancer

It's not likely, but it's possible that your bruises are a sign of cancer, such as leukemia If you also feel tired, achy, and weak all the time, or lose weight without trying to, give your doctor a call

Tips to Prevent and Treat Bruises

No matter how careful you are, you'll probably still get them from time to time To avoid bruises, crack down on clutter at home and always wear protective gear when you exercise or play sports

Once you've got a bruise, you can help it heal faster Raise the area where you're injured and put ice on it That will make you feel better and keep the bruise from getting bigger

Most bruises aren't much more than a nuisance, but if it's very painful, or if you've had it for 2 weeks and it doesn't show signs of getting better, call your doctor

American Cancer Society: "Signs and Symptoms of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia"

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Bruising Hands and Arms"

Go Ask Alice: "Unexplained Bruises"

Mayo Clinic: "Easy Bruising: Common as You Age"

Merck Manual: "Bruising and Bleeding," "Purpura Simplex"

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Cirrhosis"

OrthoInfo: "Muscle Contusion (Bruise)"

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)"

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Why Do I Bruise So Easily?

Why Do I Bruise So Easily?

The Reason You Bruise Like a Peach

You accidentally walk into the corner of your coffee table and the next day there's a huge bruise on your leg Or maybe bruises show up and you don't even remember hurting yourself Bruising with the slightest bump doesn't mean you have a serious health problem, especially if your bruises tend to be small and don't show up often

A tendency to bruise easily sometimes runs in the family, so you might have inherited this trait from one of your parents Women bruise more easily than men, especially from minor injuries on the thighs, upper arms, and butt The amount of fat covering your body may also play a part — if you don't have much, there's less cushioning protection, so bruises will appear with the slightest knock If you notice more bruises now than you did several years ago, it could be due to all those hours spent outside without sunblock, as sun-damaged skin causes blood vessels to break more easily

Sudden unexplained bruises, bruising that happens frequently, or bruises that don't go away after a month, could be a sign of a health issue, such as an infection or a vitamin deficiency of B12, C, or folic acid, so if you're concerned about it, it's best to make an appointment with your doctor