The mysterious case of the blood sweating woman

Image Reprinted with permission from CMAJ

Image Reprinted with permission from CMAJ

The Italian woman has suffered for three years with random "self-limited" incidents of bleeding from her face and palms - although her skin remains intact and undamaged. After tests revealed her blood count and blood-clotting functions were normal, doctors ruled out "factitious disorder" - she was not faking it. The patient reported symptoms of depression, anxiety and self-isolation, claiming she did not want to be in public because she feared having a blood-sweating episode.

In more recent years, there appears to have been an increase in reports of hematohidrosis - since 2013 alone, there have been 18 reported cases of hematohidrosis, Duffin said.

Doctors have diagnosed her with hematohidrosis - a condition which sees the patient excrete blood through damaged pores in the skin.

During his hospitalization, the doctors observed "the flow of the liquid is stained with blood from his face", according to an article published on the 23rd of October in the Journal of the canadian medical Association. Blood can also come out of areas that don't have sweat glands.

Phakamad Sangchai from Nongkghai, Thailand, started bleeding from her nose, eyes, and skin every time she gets a headache. The case was reported in the medical journal CMAJ.

The cause of the condition remains a mystery, but various theories have been proposed over the years.

She was treated with a beta-blocker medication called propranolol, which is often used to treat high blood pressure and heart palpitations.

In her research, Duffin found previous cases of hematohidrosis, including a 12-year-old Swiss boy in the early 1600s who had sweated blood through his shirt, and a Belgian who had been condemned to death, and was so alarmed at his situation that he also sweated blood. According to Dr Jacalyn Duffin, a medical historian and hematologist at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, who wrote a commentary accompanying the case report, there have only been around 12 similar cases reported across the globe over the past 15 years.

Speaking to CBC News on the development, Dr. Michelle Sholzberg, co-director of the Hemophilia Comprehensive Care program at St. Michael's Hospital, said the case is the "most unusual".

"Incidentally, for an undeniably common world, the long-standing relationship of hematohidrosis with religious riddle may make its reality harder to acknowledge", she composed.

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