How to Assess Signs of Internal Hemorrhaging

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This article will teach a lay person how to assess signs of internal hemorrhaging (bleeding) in a patient.

Things You'll Need

  • Your eyes
  • Your hands
  • A blood pressure cuff (if available)
  • A stethoscope (if available)

How to Assess Signs of Internal Hemorrhaging or Bleeding

It is nearly impossible for a lay person to tell for sure if someone is suffering from internal hemorrhaging or bleeding. But there are things that even an untrained person can look for in order to know if they should call 911.

It seems obvious, but someone who is suffering from internal hemorrhaging will often have pain in their abdomen. Sometimes this pain seems to move to their sides or back. Another sign in some patients is something called "referred pain", which means internal hemorrhaging in the abdomen will cause severe pain in the shoulder or jaw.

If you touch the abdomen of someone with internal hemorrhaging, they will often report that the pain increases. Sometimes the pain is only in one certain part of the abdomen. Other times the pain covers the entire area.

A common sign in women who are suffering from internal hemorrhaging is vaginal bleeding. In younger women, this is often caused by ectopic pregnancy or other pregnancy-related complications.

Another sign of internal hemorrhaging is a pulsating mass in the abdomen. This can be felt by the lay person if the patient is suffering from something called an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is an EXTREMELY critical condition, that requries immediate emergency care.

Not all internal hemorrhaging is found in the abdominal area. When larger bones are broken, such as the upper arm or upper leg, patients can suffer internal hemorrhaging in the area of the broken bone. Broken ribs can also puncture organs and lungs, causing internal bleeding into the chest area.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are not a healthcare professional, you cannot treat internal hemorrhaging. If you find signs of internal hemorrhaging in a patient, you should call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

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