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How to Heal a Hematoma at Home

Three Parts:Treating a HematomaHealing a Hematoma through DietUnderstanding Your Condition

A hematoma is a localized collection of blood underneath the skin and may appear as a reddish blue swelling (bruise). It is usually due to a blunt trauma to the body that causes a burst and leaking of blood vessels. A large hematoma can be dangerous since it places pressure on the blood vessels and can thus obstruct blood flow. Though seeing your doctor is best, there are efforts you can make to heal your hematoma at home, starting with Step 1 below.

Part 1
Treating a Hematoma

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    Rest and immobilize the injured part. Muscle activity and movement can irritate and increase the pressure on the soft tissues which can trigger an inflammatory response. Maintain relative rest for the first 48 hours if at all possible.
    • Immobilization that keeps you in a normal anatomical position (lying on your back with the palms and feet pointing forward) is helpful in the healing process and may prevent further damage. This is especially true for the extremities and joint areas.
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    Apply a cold compress on early onset of injury. This should be done within 24-48 hours after injury. Apply an ice pack to the affected area immediately after you notice a hematoma starts to develop. Low temperature reduces blood flow, decreasing bleeding. Remember not to hold the ice pack on the skin for more that 15-20 minutes to prevent tissue damage.
    • Use melting ice on a wet towel (18-27°C/64-80°F) to be applied to the site of injury for 10 minutes at a time. Repeat as necessary (4-8 times a day) to reduce the local skin temperature by 10-15°C.
    • The cold temperature causes vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessels) and limits post injury swelling and accumulation of blood underneath the skin. On early onset of injury, vasoconstriction aids in limiting the leaking-out of blood in the blood vessels and decreases the area needed to clot.
    • This also decreases local tissue metabolism which lessens the likelihood of “hypoxia” – cell injury due to decrease oxygen delivery.
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    Apply a warm compress during the recovery phase of the injury (after 24-48 hours). This should be 37-40 °C (98-104°F). In contrast with the cold compress, warm compress are more beneficial in the recovery state because they dilate the blood vessels improving the circulation and delivery of nutrients necessary for repair.
    • The increased perfusion also washes out any inflammatory exudates and waste products from the injury. Furthermore, the warm sensation diminishes the pain by acting as a counter irritant that masks the pain brought about by the injury.
    • Reminder: warm compress should not be applied in the early onset of injury – vasodilation will do more harm. The same is true for massaging the site of injury and alcohol intake (both causing vasodilation and increased blood flow).
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    Do vasodilating activities after early onset of injury. Again, this is 24-48 hours after injury. Here's what you can do to heal the hematoma:
    • Massaging. This is done in circular motion or long strokes to improve circulation and increase venous return. It may also directly help to breakdown superficial clots making them easier for the body to dissolve. Refrain if pain is present.
    • Take a warm bath. A relaxing warm batch will also illicit a vasodilator effect similar to a warm compress which helps not only with sensations of pain but on taking out the blood clots from the affected area – all due to increased blood flow.
    • Isotonic exercises. This is basically contracting both muscles (flexors and extensors) in an area without producing gross movement. These types of contractions increases blood return by rhythmically compressing the blood vessels which subsequently increases blood flow.
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    Elevate the site of injury. This is especially helpful for extremities. Keeping the area in which the hematoma has occurred on an elevated surface will reduce blood flow to that specific area, preventing the increase of the hematoma’s dimensions. Use pillows or blankets to keep the area elevated.
    • Keep the injured area as much as possible above the level of the heart. This decreases the local capillary pressure, prevents swelling, assists in lymphatic drainage, assists in dispersal of exudates, and reduces tissue pressure. This may help with local pain and ultimately promote healing.
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    Take pain medication. If you do not suffer from any other disease or aren’t under an anticoagulation treatment, you can use pretty much any painkiller. Ibuprofen is often the weapon of choice for a lot of people. However, you may wish to talk to a doctor to get his opinion on what's best for you.
    • You can administer the drugs orally, in a 200 to 400 milligram dose.[1] Ibuprofen should be administered as needed every 4 to 6 hours.

Part 2
Healing a Hematoma through Diet

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    Eat more protein. This may provide needed benefits for tissue repair. High levels of protein usually come from animal sources rather than plant sources. Here are some examples of proteins arranged highest to lowest based on biologic value (proteins that are more easily absorbed by your body):
    • Whey protein isolate – highest pH (alkaline), Non-denatured
    • Tuna sashimi
    • Wild salmon
    • Halibut
    • Poached egg
    • Turkey breast
    • Venison
    • Cottage cheese
    • Sardines
    • Chicken breast
    • Leg of lamb
    • Soy protein
    • Pork ribs
    • Fried eggs
    • Ground beef
    • Hot dogs
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    Get enough vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) deficiency can also cause easy bruising, pernicious anemia, and poor blood clotting. This is especially true for vegetarians — plant food sources have no vitamin B12 unless they are fortified. If you're vegan or vegetarian, it may be wise to take a supplement.
    • This is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods including organ meats (beef liver), shellfish (clams), meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy foods, some breakfast cereals and nutritional yeasts.
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    Get sufficient vitamin K. Vitamin K (K1 - phylloquinone and K2 menaquinone) deficiency may occur as a result of inadequate fat absorption and/or antibiotic consumption. Impaired blood clotting and hemorrhagic diseases are associated with deficiency of Vitamin K.
    • Sources of dietary vitamin K includes green tea, leafy greens s(uch as Swiss chard, kale, parsley and spinach), broccoli and cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, liver, soybean oil and wheat bran.
    • Fermented dairy, including yogurt, cheeses, and fermented soy including miso and natto, provides Menaquinone.
    • The recommended daily adequate intake of vitamin K is 120 mcg for adult males and 90 mcg for adult females.[2]
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    Get more vitamin C, too. Additional intake of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) daily (500 mg) may help with the formation of new connective tissues maintenance and repair, especially for the walls of blood vessels.
    • Great sources of vitamin C are papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, pineapple, cauliflower and oranges.[3]
    • As a rule, regular intake of a wide variety of food are more than enough to meet nutritional demands for both macro and micronutrients – supplements are only prescribed in special circumstances like malnutrition and pregnancy.
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    Drink plenty of water. Maintaining hydration and increasing fluid intake also has its benefits. Be sure to drink whenever you feel thirsty, or at least 1.5- 2L per day (highly variable with body size). The more you drink, the more toxins will be flushed out of your system -- and the more you'll see it in your waistline, hair, skin, and nails, too.
    • Water is better than any other liquid you can drink. Unsweetened fruit juices and decaffeinated teas are okay and can be consumed safely in moderation, but the focus should be water.
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    Use turmeric. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and will prevent any further inflammation or infection of the affected site. It contains essential oils which can increase blood flow and the number of red blood cells. The hematoma can then be absorbed a lot easier.
    • Dissolve a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk and drink the mix once a day. Alternatively, use it as a spice in your dishes you cook at home. Use the remedy until the hematoma disappears.
    • Turmeric is widely known to have medicinal properties, but there is no specific science to back it up. If you do use this remedy, be sure to supplement it with others.[4]

Part 3
Understanding Your Condition

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    Know what type of hematoma you have. The term hematoma refers to a restricted blood collection found outside the blood vessels. It is usually found in liquid form, inside the tissue. If a hematoma exceeds 10 millimeters in diameter, it is referred to as an ecchymosis.[5] There are numerous types of hematoma, depending on the area in which it occurs. The most common types include:
    • Subdermal hematoma, found just beneath the skin.
    • Cephalohematoma, a form of hematoma which occurs between the skull and the periosteum (the membrane covering the outside of the bones).
    • Epidural hematoma is a form of hematoma occurring between the dura mater (one of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord).
    • Subdural hematomas occur between the arachnoid mater (the second membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord) and the dura mater.
    • Subarachnoid hematoma occur between the pia mater (the innermost membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord) and arachnoid mater.
    • Perianal hematoma is a type of hematoma found on the border of the anus or inside it.
    • Subungual hematoma is a frequent type of hematoma, which can be found underneath a nail.
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    Know the possible symptoms. Hematoma symptoms depend on its location and size. Here are the symptoms that often accompany your average hematoma:[6]
    • Pain. Pain is one of the most common symptoms of a hematoma. It occurs because the tissue where the hematoma occurs is inflamed.
    • Swelling. If a tissue becomes flooded with blood, it will become inflamed, and will eventually swell.
    • Redness. Redness of the area where a hematoma is formed is caused by the blood building up underneath the surface of the skin (subdermal hematoma), and because of inflammation.
    • Headache and confusion. In the case of a subdural hematoma, the blood will cause pressure and inflammation of the surrounding tissues, causing headache. Confusion will also occur, because the hematoma will start to compress the nerves inside your head.
    • A lucid period followed by unconsciousness. The lucid period is experienced right after the blood starts to collect. As the blood continues to flow, you may lose consciousness.
    • Weakness of the extremities. Again, this is a symptom experienced in severe, cranial hematomas. The blood collection will compress the crossed pyramid pathways (tracts of the nervous system) causing weakness in the extremities
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    Know the risk factors. One of the main causes of certain types of hematoma is trauma. When practicing a contact sport, such as martial arts, boxing or rugby, you will suffer trauma to different parts of your body. However, there are other causes, too:
    • Blood clotting condition. When suffering from conditions like diabetes or hemophilia, you are at risk of developing numerous hematomas, because the blood doesn’t properly clot, or in some cases, doesn’t clot at all.
    • Work environment. Working in a place where the risk of trauma is high, like a construction site, for example, will make you prone to hematoma. The most common types of work related hematomas are subdermal hematoma and subungual hematoma.
    • Age. Elderly people or very young children are at risk of developing hematomas (especially subdural) because their blood vessel structure is weak.
    • Alcohol abuse. A long period of chronic alcohol consumption will make you prone to developing a hematoma. Alcohol induces vasodilatation (the widening of blood vessels) making the blood vessels prone to damage.
    • Abnormal labor and birth. If you are a woman giving birth via vertex or vacuum delivery, the newborn is at risk of suffering cephalohematoma. A prolonged second stage of labor can also cause this type of hematoma as well.
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    Know that surgery is an option. Certain hematomas require surgical intervention and drainage. A subdural hematoma with obvious symptoms will require immediate surgery. In this case, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Talk to your doctor about the right treatment for you.
    • A neurosurgeon will perform a craniotomy (surgical opening of the skull) followed by the opening of the dura mater. The hematoma will be removed by irrigation or suction. The bleeding sites will be identified, and the bleeding will be stopped.[7]


  • This article only applies to non-serious hematoma brought about by mild soft-tissue injury and in no way meant as a substitute to professional medical care.

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Categories: First Aid and Emergencies