Internal bleeding is a tragedy that can strike unexpectedly following a car accident. When an accident occurs, there are often injuries that are noticeable immediately. Despite this, there are also times where internal bleeding could be present for days without an individual being aware. Internal bleeding has many different causes and symptoms. If you have been involved in a car accident and fear you may be suffering from internal bleeding, the following are causes, signs and symptoms resulting from bleeding.
What Causes Internal Bleeding
Involvement in a car accident could lead to internal bleeding due to various factors. You may or may not be aware that you are suffering from internal bleeding. Severe bleeding will require medical attention and possible surgery. Less severe forms of bleeding may clear up on their own without a need for medical attention.
• Orthopedic injuries nearly always lead to internal bleeding. Whenever a break in a bone occurs, heavy bleeding is expected. The body’s long bones such as the humerus and femur can result in a loss of more than 10% of the bodies blood supply.
• Deceleration injuries are also likely to be common when an individual is involved in a car accident. This type of injury presents itself when the moving body is stopped abruptly. For example, if a vehicle were to hit a wall, the speed quickly reduces to zero and the driver’s chest may strike the steering wheel causing a rupture of the aorta and heavy bleeding.
• Compression injuries are also likely when involved in a car accident. This type of injury results from external force being applied to the body to compress an organ between two surfaces. If a portion of the body becomes trapped under the weight of something such as a vehicle, then bleeding can result.
Immediate Signs and Symptoms of Internal Bleeding
Depending on your circumstances you could see signs and symptoms of internal bleeding right away, or it may take some time for your symptoms to appear. The symptoms can vary depending on where you were injured and how much blood was lost.
• Shock is one of the more obvious symptoms of bleeding. This usually occurs when there is intense internal bleeding resulting in a large decrease in blood volume. An individual in shock will have a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure and a loss of mental functions. As more blood is loss, the individual will continue to deteriorate.
• Excruciating pain in the abdomen can be a sign of bleeding. Tenderness in the area of the chest and groin can indicate the possibility of internal bleeding. To rule out internal bleeding, professional medical attention must be sought.
• Vomiting blood can be a key factor in determining if an individual is suffering from internal bleeding. The regurgitation of blood combined with blood stains indicates that an individual is suffering from internal bleeding. The blood generally will be dark red and mixed with food. This blood tends to come from the upper gastrointestinal tract. Forceful vomiting can lead to small blood vessel tears that allow blood to bed present in the vomit.
• Compartment syndrome is another symptom that can result from internal bleeding. This rare syndrome results in swelling that occurs after an injury. Increased pressure due to the swelling leads to compartment syndrome. An individual who is suffering from this will notice numbness and difficulty in moving the particular body. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure and permanent nerve damage.
Delayed Signs and Symptoms of Internal Bleeding
• Blood in the stool is a key delayed symptom experienced with internal bleeding. Blood in the stool can cause stools to appear black and tarry. This indicates bleeding within the small intestines or in the stomach. Bright red blood can be caused by bleeding in the digestive tract. Despite these all being signs that could point to internal bleeding, there are many less severe ailments that could cause similar symptoms. In order to confirm whether the blood is a result of internal bleeding a doctor would need to conduct a stool test.
• The appearance of blood in urine is another dangerous sign of internal bleeding. An individual who was involved in a car accident may appear to be fine and later notice blood when they urinate. This type of bleeding is generally associated with bleeding from the kidney or bladder. Sometimes blood in the urine is not visible to the naked eye and thus must be discovered by a doctor.
• Bleeding in the head may go unnoticed due to the general disposition of an individual following a car accident. Someone suffering from bleeding in the head will show symptoms such as weakness, confusion, slurred speech and vision problems. Such a condition will require immediate medical attention.
• Coughing up blood is another symptom that may be delayed after involvement in a car accident. Mucus stained with blood will be spit up from the lungs or throat. Coughing up blood is medically known as Hemoptysis. If you are coughing up blood, it could indicate bleeding inside. The blood that is coughed up will be bright red and rusty. Additionally, the blood will have a bubbly appearance due to the mix of mucus and air.
When to Call the Doctor if Internal Bleeding is Suspected
Internal bleeding can present itself in many different forms. Immediate medical attention should be sought if you are experiencing symptoms such as confusion combined with loss of vision or change in speech. Vomiting blood, rectal bleeding, and blood in the urine are also causes of immediate concern. If any of these conditions exist you should seek medical attention immediately. Doctors will be able to use exams and tests to determine and diagnose internal bleeding. These tests include a complete blood count also known as a CBC, X-rays, and CT scans. Each test will determine if the internal bleeding is severe enough to warrant surgery.