Ecchymosis: symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment


Ecchymosis is caused by the movement of blood from broken blood vessels to the top layer of the skin. This can occur after soft tissue injury, surgery, cell dysfunction, or infection. Ecchymosis can occur anywhere on the skin or mucous membranes, including the mouth. Ecchymosis does not cause lifting of the skin. Rather, you see a variety of discoloration, including red, blue, or purple. Ecchymosis can be associated with other symptoms such as pain or swelling.

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The most obvious sign and symptom of ecchymosis is a flat but discolored area of skin that is moderate to large (more than 1 centimeter). Additional symptoms can include pain, tenderness, and swelling. A person with ecchymosis may also experience symptoms of pain and swelling in other parts of the body as a result of an injury, such as a fall.


Ecchymosis can be caused by injury, such as being struck by an object or falling on a hard surface. Certain diseases, such as cancer or blood clotting disorders, can cause bruising. If the body lacks vitamin K or vitamin C , a person is at risk for bruising. If someone is diagnosed with an infection or is taking certain medications, such as Coumadin ( warfarin ) or aspirin, they are also at increased risk for bruising.

Children often suffer bruising in the summer, in temperate climates, or during team sports season.

Ecchymosis can be caused by leakage of blood into tissue due to abnormal cellular function or trauma, while bruising (hematoma) is defined as caused by trauma.


Ecchymosis is primarily diagnosed with a physical exam, during which a healthcare professional evaluates an area of discolored skin. The healthcare professional will also ask about your medical history, the medications you are currently taking, and any recent injuries you may have.

If the bruise is severe enough, your doctor may order blood tests to measure your body's response to healing, levels of inflammation, and blood cell counts. This information will help determine the cause of the ecchymosis, if the mechanism is not yet known, and will prescribe treatment.

The color of ecchymosis skin helps the doctor determine the age and depth of the lesion. A blue, red, or purple hue usually indicates a recent site of bruising. After a few days have passed and the healing process has begun, the skin area usually turns yellow, green, or brown. The research study analyzed pictures of bruises to determine their age and concluded that the yellow spots on the skin were bruises obtained more than 18 hours earlier.

Watch out

Most cases of ecchymosis resolve without any intervention, as the trauma is usually minor. If you often experience bruising pain, your doctor may perform several more tests and examinations to determine the underlying cause. Your doctor can then treat the condition causing the ecchymosis to prevent more serious problems from developing. Another course of action may be to stop taking certain medications that can cause bruising.

Most mild to moderate ecchymoses are treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling. Health professionals generally recommend that you lift the bruised area and apply ice to reduce symptoms such as pain and swelling. These practices, followed by rest, allow the body to absorb blood from the tissues and heal bruising.


The prognosis for ecchymosis is usually very good. In most cases, ecchymosis is insignificant and resolves relatively quickly in healthy people. Once your healthcare provider has determined the cause of your bruise, they may recommend that you take steps to prevent a recurrence.

You should contact your doctor if you develop new symptoms of ecchymosis after being treated, the hematoma increases in size, or you do not see any progress after 2 weeks.

Most cases of bruising are mild and cause mild pain or swelling. Most people with mild bruising have to deal with temporary cosmetic changes due to skin discoloration and bruising. These bruises usually disappear completely after the ecchymosis heals and the blood redistributes under the skin. This usually takes about two weeks.

Get the word of drug information

Ecchymosis is a relatively common disease that can occur regardless of the underlying disease. In most cases, bruising is not a cause for concern. Ecchymosis symptoms disappear over time and are often caused by minor soft tissue damage.

Most cases of bruising are due to soft tissue injuries, such as falls, sprains, and other shock-related injuries. If you are healthy, one of the best ways to prevent ecchymosis is to avoid soft tissue injury. If you are an older person, the best precaution you can take to avoid bruising is to prevent falls or other injuries around the home . If you are concerned about medications you are taking or a medical condition you live with that may cause ecchymosis, consult your doctor for more information.

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