Sweating blood is a thing — and it baffles Italian doctors

Sweating blood isn’t just another way of saying someone’s made an extraordinary effort. It’s a real medical condition.

A team of Italian doctors treated a 21-year-old woman whose condition caused her to spontaneously sweat blood from her face and the palms of her hands. The scary condition occurred without apparent cause over three years. The unidentified woman, who was treated for depression, had become socially isolated as a result of the condition.

“There was no obvious trigger for the bleeding, which could occur while she was asleep and during times of physical activity,” researchers noted in in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. That includes cuts or broken skin.

“She stated that more intense bleeding occurred during times of perceived emotional stress. Episodes lasted from one to five minutes,” investigators added.

‘There is no single explanation of the source of bleeding …’

Doctors came to a rare diagnosis: hematohidrosis. It’s a condition characterized by blood oozing from intact skin and — just as disturbing — the eyes. It is often associated with emotional stress and fear and not fully understood. Mystery and controversy surround the diagnosis, which recalls biblical observations of Jesus sweating blood.

“There is no single explanation of the source of bleeding in hematohidrosis,” doctors noted.

The patient’s anxiety and depression was treated with propranolol, a beta-blocker commonly used to regulate blood pressure and heart rate, but the bleeding continued. That led to “ a marked reduction, although not a complete remission of her bleeding.”

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