Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Excessive Bruising Underlying Cause

Easy bruising can be a sign of a bleeding disorder if bruising begins to worsen after minor injuries to the skin, especially if swelling becomes worse than usual. Other signs of a bleeding disorder include prolonged bleeding after cuts to the skin, excessive bleeding of the gums, frequent nosebleeds, and blood in the urine.

Easy bruising is caused by two general mechanisms: the small blood vessels become weak or the blood does not clot normally. Women tend to bruise more easily than men because of the female hormone, estrogen. Estrogen can weaken small blood vessels, which leads to bruising after a minor injury. Blood vessels tend to weaken with age.

Other causes of weak blood vessels include:

Conditions that prevent the blood from clotting normally include:

Last Updated: Jan 31, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Excessive Bruising References
  1. Liesner R, Hann I, Khair K. Non-accidental injury and the haematologist: the causes and investigation of easy bruising. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis. 2004 May;15 Suppl 1:S41-8. [15166934]
  2. Maguire S, Mann MK, Sibert J, Kemp A. Are there patterns of bruising in childhood which are diagnostic or suggestive of abuse? A systematic review. Arch Dis Child. 2005 Feb;90(2):182-6. [15665178]
  3. Valente MJ, Abramson N. Easy bruisability. South Med J. 2006 Apr;99(4):366-70. Review. Summary for patients in: South Med J. 2006 Jun;99(6):635. [16634245]
  4. Vora A, Makris M. Personal practice: An approach to investigation of easy bruising. Arch Dis Child. 2001 Jun;84(6):488-91. [11369565]
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