Signs and symptoms
Blood usually oozes from the forehead, nails, umbilicus, and other skin surfaces. In addition, oozing from mucocutaneous surfaces causing nosebleeds, blood stained tears, and vicarious menstruation are common. The episodes may be proceeded by intense headache and abdominal pain and are usually self-limiting. In some conditions, the secreted fluid is more dilute and appears to be blood-tinged, while others may have darker bright red secretions resembling blood.
Investigation such as platelets count, platelet aggregation test, coagulation profile and skin biopsy reveal no abnormalities and direct light microscopy of fluid demonstrates presence of normal red blood cells. Investigations also failed to show any vasculitis or skin appendages (i.e. sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles) abnormalities.
The condition is very rare but there are reports in medical literature of successful treatment with beta blockers (propranolol 10 mg) with significant reduction in the frequency of spontaneous blood oozing. The successful use of beta blockers supports the theory that the condition is induced by stress and anxiety yet this etiology is not established yet as the high prevalence of stress and anxiety in the modern era did not change the incidence of this extremely rare disease, suggesting that other co-abnormality also play a key role in this disease. Atropine sulfate transdermal patches have also been used successfully.
The actual cause of this phenomenon is not certain. Some scientists speculate that it happens when a person is under extreme stress.
The New Testament indicates that Jesus underwent hematidrosis before the Crucifixion of Jesus, during the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:44). These claims are plausible, given that the modern day dermatological research notes the presence of hematidrosis in people awaiting execution.
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