Symptoms of internal bleeding

Site-Specific Symptoms

Internal bleeding in specific parts of the body may lead to distinct symptoms. These include:


Brain bleeds often cause severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Weakness on one side of the body or changes in vision are also common. As the bleeding progresses, confusion and disorientation can occur, followed by the loss of consciousness or seizures.


Bleeding into the chest can cause shortness of breath, a gasping cough, and hemoptysis (coughing up blood). Coughing up even just a teaspoon of blood is a medical emergency. Coughing up 1/4 cup of blood or more is linked to a high risk of death.

Bleeding around the heart (known as pericardial effusion) can restrict the motion of the heart. This can lead to life-threatening cardiac tamponade.

When a lung is punctured and collapses (pneumothorax), bruising is often seen around the chest and neck. The skin of the neck and upper belly may also feel crinkly, like bubble wrap, as air enters the layers of skin. With blood in the chest (hemothorax), the pain can increase when people move into different positions.


Bleeding into the abdomen can cause swelling along with diffuse pain. When a doctor places a stethoscope on the stomach, bowel sounds may be absent. Bruising around the navel or flank strongly suggests internal bleeding.

Bleeding into the esophagus or stomach can lead to bloody vomit, while bleeding in the lower digestive tract may cause rectal bleeding or bloody stools. Bleeding in the kidneys or bladder can cause blood in the urine.

Bones, Joints, and Muscles

Bleeding due to fractures or joint or muscle injuries usually causes bruising, sometimes severe. On the other hand, the skin may turn pale and tight when bleeding causes compartment syndrome, This is a painful condition caused by extreme pressure within muscle tissues. It may be hard to move joints or walk.

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