What Causes Easy Bruising? Nutrition Causes & Tips
Have you ever gotten bruises on your body that never to seem to go away or take a long time to heal? Or, do you seem to be finding bruises and you don't even remember bumping into anything?
Bruising. What should we be considering if we are bruising easily?
My name is Marcie Vaske and I'm a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in gut health. I see a lot of people who struggle with bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and that's really just to name a few.
And as we continue to learn more about the importance of having a healthy gut, I tend to see clients who struggle with things like hormone issues or thyroid or insulin resistance or even autoimmune illnesses.
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So what do you need to know if you're someone who bruises easily? If you are the person who bruises easily today, it's all about that.
What Causes Easy Bruising?
First of all, I'll go through what a bruise is, what are signs of easy bruising, and what causes bruising in the first place? And then some tips to heal them up. So let's dig in.
So you know, the obvious on what bruises can be caused from, which is something that we've all done, maybe tripped, fell, gotten hit, ran into something, and you end up with a black and blue mark and you're wondering, when is this going to go away?
Well, a bruise is actually blood that is trapped under the skin and it damages our small blood vessels. So just minor bruises often will go away within a few days. But, if you're someone who might be having some other issues going on, those little bruises can tend to stick around for weeks.
Or, if you've really gotten hurt or hit, then those bruises can take several weeks to go away and we've probably all experienced something like that.
So while bruises are fairly common, there are common factors that increase the risk of bruising easily like old age, having a condition that might be affecting blood clotting in your body, or even using blood thinners as medications.
So we're gonna run through a few of those and an additional couple more that will explain what other items could be causing some easy bruising. Now, as I noted above, easy bruising can happen more often in the elderly and that's called Senile Purpura.
And what happens is that older adults, about 10% of those aged over 50 years old, will oftentimes cause dark, deep purple bruising lesions. Now bruising cannot only occur more easily in elderly individuals but bruising also runs in families.
And if you are over the age of 50, you might end up having more bruises around your hands usually because you're kind of bumping into things and that usually turns into just a light purple bruise. And it's one of those things where I barely hit anything, you don't even know why you have the bruise.
But what happens is that our skin starts to get thinner as we age and our blood vessels are closer to the surface, therefore we see those broken blood vessels more easily. Now, another common risk for bruising easily will be taking medications and most commonly it's going to be blood thinning medications.
So, you may have heard of things like heparin or ibuprofen even, right? Sometimes we take that just if we have an ache in pain that create the blood to be much thinner and other medications that actually weaken or even change the behavior of your blood vessels and increase that inflammation.
State things like herbal remedies. If you're taking a lot of ginseng for example, or increasing the amount of flax seed that you've been eating or even herbs such as saw pimento, those can actually increase that bleeding because it thins or changes the behavior of your vessel.
Also, some chemotherapy drugs are targeted where they can also increase bleeding because they lower the platelet in our blood.
Another reason for easy bruising can be liver disease and this is called cirrhosis. There are other conditions that will impact your liver function, but what happens is that liver disease can affect the way our blood clots and increase the risk of bleeding and easy bruising.
Of course, there are other symptoms of liver disease such as itching, fatigue, or maybe just a general unwell feeling, swelling in the legs, dark urine, or even a little yellowing of the whites of your eyes.
If you have any of these other symptoms and easy bruising, you wanna make sure you get your liver enzymes monitored by your physician.
Now, of course, there is other bleeding disorders that are genetic conditions and one of them is Von Willebrand Disease and hemophilia.
Hemophilia you may have heard of since it's more common, but they both affect the way that we clot our blood. If we don't have good blood clotting factors, then that tends to lead to more of that easy bruising.
Now if you have a genetic factor like that, which you would likely already know as they are usually diagnosed at birth, there is another condition that's called vasculitis and that's what is referred to as inflamed blood vessels.
Symptoms might include things like bleeding and easy bruising, shortness of breath, numbness in your limbs, and even ulcers or skin lumps.
And there's also another symptom called petechiae, which is just purple spots on the skin. It doesn't really look like bruising, but it could be a symptom of this inflamed blood vessel state.
If you're seeing or experiencing any of these symptoms, I would recommend you visit your practitioner and get that checked out just to make sure that things are okay. There is a treatment that can be involved with that as well.
Now, one of the last ones and one that I see a lot is vitamin deficiencies.
Certain vitamins in our body enable it to heal and blood to clot. One of them is low vitamin C, and you may have heard about it, but the term would be scurvy is when this condition is getting too low in the body with vitamin C and our vessels are bleeding. The body uses vitamin C to create collagen and an essential part of a structure of our blood vessels.
So if we don't get enough of that, that means our vessels are very weak and can result in things like bleeding gums, wounds that don't heal, or easy bruising. If you have any of these symptoms, which in today's world there's not a lot of scurvy going on, but some people who don't get enough vitamin C could be experiencing some of these symptoms.
Now another vitamin deficiency is going to be vitamin K and vitamin K helps the body form clots to help stop bleeding in our vessels. So oftentimes there are newborns who are low in vitamin K and it's hard to get them to stop bleeding and without a vitamin K injection at birth, babies easily bruise or they bleed excessively.
Now, adults who are low in vitamin K may also notice a sudden increase in bruising. So, if this sounds like you and you think you might be low in vitamin K or even vitamin C, you can always get those vitamins tested to see if you actually have a deficiency.
And in those cases, supplements or just a dietary change can help tremendously to bring up those levels and of course to see if there are any underlying conditions. For example, things like inflammatory bowel disease.
If you're experiencing any of this easy bruising, I would definitely look into it, visit your practitioner, chat about it, and see if there are any underlying conditions going on.
But what do you do when you've got the bruise and you just want it to go away? There are a few natural ways that we can help assist in getting rid of our bruises.
Natural Ways to get rid of Bruises
Our first tip is to apply a cold compress! Many of us maybe have done that when we've had some pretty severe bruises and it is really swollen. The faster you apply the cold compress, the sooner the inflammation will start to reduce.
Our second tip is to rub a little tincture of Arnica or even Arnica gel. Now Arnica is from the plant of the Daisy family and it actually grows in the Rocky Mountains and it's really great for bruises, sprains, and sore muscles.
You could also try a little aloe vera. Aloe vera is just a succulent plant and it soothes that skin irritation. You can make a bruise compress with it by taking a little aloe vera and a little of that Arnica that I talked about, and just apply it right to your bruise.
Now if you are someone who's bruising easily, as I discussed with the vitamins, you can also take a supplement of vitamin C and you could do about 200 milligrams. I'd probably start with two to 500 milligrams if you're feeling like bruising is really happening a lot for you and it's just a nice place to help to kind of increase that vitamin C in your body.
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Another thing that you could do is also take something called bilberry extract. Now when it comes to bilberry you will oftentimes hear about using it for vision and for optical health. But, there are amazing antioxidants in it that will help reduce and eliminate bruising by stabilizing your collagen and increasing intracellular vitamin C level, and also strengthening your capillaries.
And that makes for a lot less bruising. If you have a really deep bruise, one idea you could try is taking 200 to 400 milligrams of actually bromelain.
Bromelain is a pineapple enzyme that helps speed up the healing and clearing out of metabolic waste from injuries. You would want to take it about three times a day on an empty stomach, and that's for those really deep soft tissue bruises.
If you resonate with any of the information that I gave you today, simply add a little vitamin C in, start consuming vegetables and fruits with it, it's everywhere. So maybe just taking a look at your diet can help those bruises go away.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
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