Italian doctors were left bewildered when a woman was admitted to the hospital for “sweating blood” from her face and hands, a new case published in a medical journal on Monday revealed.
The woman, 21, would spontaneously bleed with no visible lesions on her skin, according to the case report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The woman has been suffering from the mysterious disorder for three years and would start bleeding spontaneously in her sleep or while she was physically active.
It’s unclear what triggered the bleeding, but the bleeding intensified when she was under stress. The episodes would last between one to five minutes.
The women told doctors she suffered major depression and panic disorder because of the condition and became “socially isolated.” She has no history of psychosis, the report said.
The doctors floated different theories on what caused the condition, including factitious disorder, when someone would deceive others by appearing sick. However, she continued to spontaneously bleed after she was prescribed paroxetine and clonazepam for her depression and anxiety order.
They ultimately concluded she had hematohidrosis, an uncommon disease that would cause “spontaneous discharge of ‘blood sweat’ through intact skin.” Blood can also come out of areas that don’t have sweat glands.
It’s still unclear what causes the “blood sweat.” Dr. Michelle Sholzberg, co-director of the Hemophilia Comprehensive Care program at St. Michael's Hospital, told CBC News the case is the “most unusual.”
"I can say with clarity that I've never seen a case like this — ever," Sholzberg told CBC News. "And I can say that I've seen some of the worst bleeding disorders, and I've never seen them sweat blood."
"I think this person has a very bizarre anatomical defect on a microscopic level that is resulting in this very unusual symptom," the Canadian hematologist said.