When someone runs into an object, falls down, or gets hit, it is not too surprising if a bruise erupts. Sometimes, however, bruises appear for no apparent reason. This can be puzzling and sometimes worrisome. The reality is that there is always a reason for a bruise, even if the reason is not known at the time. Some of the causes of bruising for no reason include age, medication, or serious disease. Bruising for no reason may be a signal to consult a healthcare professional.
As people age, capillary walls become less able to withstand the bumps and jostling of daily activities. At the same time, the skin thins and does not provide as much protection to the fragile capillaries. In addition, the elderly and others may be on certain medications that make them more prone to bruising for no reason. One side effect of taking corticosteroids, for example, is thinning of the skin. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin, as well as anti-coagulants, can thin the blood and increase clotting time, making bruising easier. Dietary supplements such as fish oil, ginkgo biloba, garlic, and ginger may also have have blood-thinning properties that may make people bruise more easily.
Bruising for no reason can in some instances indicate more serious problems. Meningoccocal diseases, such as meningitis and meningococcemia, are potentially fatal conditions that can cause easy bruising. Hemophilia and other genetic conditions that impair blood clotting make one prone to bruising and internal bleeding that can be life-threatening. Clotting problems can also be an acquired condition, as in the case of cirrhosis of the liver. Leukemia, von Willebrand disease, and other platelet disorders also make people more likely to have bruises for no reason, while bruising around the belly button may indicate pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.
If a person is suddenly prone to bruising for no reason or has bruises that are very large and painful, an appointment with a doctor is most likely in order. Unexplained bruising, sometimes combined with bleeding gums, bleeding from the nose, or bleeding from the intestinal tract, are other symptoms that may require prompt medical attention. Many of the causes of unexplained bruising can be identified by simple laboratory tests. If there are concerns that medications are the cause of easy bruising, continue taking prescriptions until a doctor says otherwise. As with any health concerns, the prudent choice is to see a medical professional.