If you made it this far, that means you read the headline. And yes, you read it correctly. The Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) just released a case study which detailed the extremely rare occurrence. In it, specialists from the University of Florence in Italy answered the call of a 21-year-old woman.
The woman, who chose not to release her name, hit the Internet to ask for help with her unusual condition. After physical activity, the young woman would find herself bleeding from her palms and face. There were no cuts or injuries, simply physical exertion and where sweat was supposed to be, blood dripped.
You could see the bloody photo here.
If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games movies, you might have seen President Snow sweating blood as well.
Turns out, this is a real thing! It’s called hematohidrosis.
In this rare condition, capillary blood vessels rupture which causes blood to exude during moments of extreme physical or emotional stress. What activates this chain reaction is severe mental anxiety and fear which causes hemorrhages of the vessels that supply sweat glands. So in a nutshell, blood replaces sweat in the sweat glands.
The young woman told doctors that this has been ongoing for several years and the bleeding can occur for up to five minutes at a time.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, other symptoms can include crying blood, nose bleeds or bleeding from the surface of the skin.
This is such a rare condition that it’s pathology is still left to the unknown. The majority of cases, however, can be linked to high anxiety, stress or fear. Most cases can last between one month and four years and typically affect woman over men.
According to the report, the young woman in question has felt self-conscious about her condition and has avoided going out as much as she could. She also showed symptoms of depressive disorder and panic disorder, which is the likeliest cause of the hematohidrosis. She was given a drug that is typically used for high blood pressure to stop the bleeding.
There is no cure for this one and the condition seems to be happening more frequently. If you find yourself using the expression, “I shed blood, sweat and tears,” keep in mind that this is no longer an exaggeration.