What are the Most Common Causes of Excessive Bruising?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Using steroids can cause excessive bruising.
Using steroids can cause excessive bruising.

There are a number of potential causes for excessive bruising, some benign, and some less so. Aging is one of the most common causes, as are certain medications and dietary supplements. People who suddenly experience more bruising that usual with no obvious cause should see a medical professional, especially if it is accompanied with fatigue, rashes, and other medical symptoms. A general practitioner can evaluate a patient to learn more about the nature of the bruising and provide a referral to a specialist, if necessary.

A diagram of the effects of leukemia. Excessive bruising can be an early warning sign of leukemia.
A diagram of the effects of leukemia. Excessive bruising can be an early warning sign of leukemia.

Women are more likely to bruise than men, and some women may notice that excessive bruising is common throughout their lives. Aging can be a cause in everyone, because as people age, their skin thins, the capillaries become more fragile, and the insulating layer of fat disappears. This combination of factors makes it much easier for people to bruise after injuries, even very light ones. People may notice that mild pressure on the skin of older adults can cause livid bruising as a result of the underlying fragility.

Excessive bruising may be the result of aging.
Excessive bruising may be the result of aging.

Another cause can be an autoimmune condition like allergies or lupus. People with a history of autoimmune problems may want to discuss bruising with their healthcare provider to see if it is a cause for concern, especially if it is growing worse. Medications like steroids, blood thinners, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also linked with this problem, especially if people take them in the long term. Dietary supplements like ginkgo biloba can also cause bruising.

Ginko appears to have possible side effects such as blood thinning and preventing blood from clotting.
Ginko appears to have possible side effects such as blood thinning and preventing blood from clotting.

Blood disorders are another cause. People with clotting disorders, as well as people who carry genes for clotting disorders, can develop excessive bruising and, in some cases, the bruising may be dangerous. Leukemia is another potential reason for someone to bruise excessively and, in fact, bruising can be an early warning sign for a patient with leukemia, along with excessive fatigue.

Those with blood disorders may develop severe bruises even from minor accidents.
Those with blood disorders may develop severe bruises even from minor accidents.

If people notice that they are bruising more than normal and they don't know of any medical reason for the bruising, they should see a medical professional. Bruising can be a sign of an underlying medical problem that needs attention, and the sooner it is addressed, the better the possible outcome usually is. People should also be aware that sometimes bruising is a sign of internal hemorrhage. If bruises develop in areas like the abdomen after sustaining physical trauma, a patient may want to seek medical help quickly for potential internal bleeding.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon998040

Yes, Mae82 and anon284060! Food is medicine. If you need a quick fix though, Floradix is a good natural iron supplement and I've also had great results from organic liquid chlorophyll. Also, in addition to working on diet work on your gut health to make sure you are absorbing all that good nutrition.

anon284060

Liver is a very good source of iron.

animegal

For someone who is anemic and bruises easily, can anyone recommend some great iron rich food that could help with the problem?

Supplements are pretty much mandatory with the condition, but it would be nice to find some food that would help in a more natural way.

Mae82

I found myself bruising easily when I was younger. It had a lot to do with my diet and a lack of iron and some much needed vitamins and proteins. I think a healthy diet is the one of the ways you can personally take control of your bruising issue.

A doctor can run a few simple blood tests to let you know whether or not your nutrient levels are the reason for your bruising.

I found that taking a daily multi-vitamin and making sure I got enough protein was enough to stop making me look black and blue.

There are some very serious causes for bruising, but I think looking at your diet first can help to determine if there is anything more serious afoot.

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    • Using steroids can cause excessive bruising.
      By: compuinfoto
      Using steroids can cause excessive bruising.
    • A diagram of the effects of leukemia. Excessive bruising can be an early warning sign of leukemia.
      By: Alila
      A diagram of the effects of leukemia. Excessive bruising can be an early warning sign of leukemia.
    • Excessive bruising may be the result of aging.
      By: bertys30
      Excessive bruising may be the result of aging.
    • Ginko appears to have possible side effects such as blood thinning and preventing blood from clotting.
      By: evgenyb
      Ginko appears to have possible side effects such as blood thinning and preventing blood from clotting.
    • Those with blood disorders may develop severe bruises even from minor accidents.
      By: Harald Biebel
      Those with blood disorders may develop severe bruises even from minor accidents.