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Alternative Names Return to topEcchymoses; Skin spots - red; Pinpoint red spots on the skin; Petechiae
Definition Return to top
Bleeding under the skin can occur from broken blood vessels that form tiny pinpoint red dots (called petechiae). Blood also can collect under the tissue in larger flat areas (called purpura), or in a very large bruised area (called an ecchymosis).
Considerations Return to top
Aside from the common bruise, bleeding into the skin or mucous membranes is a very significant sign and should always be checked out. Redness of the skin (erythema) should not be mistaken for bleeding. Petechiae, purpura, and ecchymosis do not become pale (blanch) with pressure. The redness of erythema decreases and then returns when you apply and then release pressure to it.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
Protect aging skin. Avoid trauma such as bumping or pulling on skin areas.
For a cut or scrape, use direct pressure to stop the bleeding.
If you have a drug reaction, ask your health care provider about stopping the drug.
Otherwise, follow your prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause of the problem.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Contact your health care provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your doctor will examine you and ask questions about the bleeding, such as:
References Return to top
Schafer AI. Approach to the patient with bleeding and thrombosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 178.Update Date: 5/2/2009 Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.