Hematidrosis - Sweating Blood

Hematidrosis, also called blood sweat, is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood.

Blood usually oozes from the forehead, nails, umbilicus, and other skin surfaces. In addition, oozing from mucocutaneous surfaces causing nosebleeds, blood stained tears, and vicarious menstruation are common. The episodes may be proceeded by intense headache and abdominal pain and are usually self-limiting. In some conditions, the secreted fluid is more dilute and appears to be blood-tinged, while others may have darker bright red secretions resembling blood. While the extent of blood loss generally is minimal, hematidrosis also results in the skin becoming extremely tender and fragile.


Hematidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress. Severe mental anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system to invoke the stress-fight or flight reaction to such a degree as to cause hemorrhage of the vessels supplying the sweat glands into the ducts of the sweat glands. It has been suggested that acute fear and extreme stress can cause hematidrosis.


Investigation such as platelets count, platelet aggregation test, coagulation profile and skin biopsy reveal no abnormalities and direct light microscopy of fluid demonstrates presence of normal red blood cells. Investigations also failed to show any vasculitis or skin appendages (i.e. sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles) abnormalities. A 2015 case study investigated hematidrosis with a patient who has epilepsy.


Effect on the body is weakness and mild to moderate dehydration from the severe anxiety and both blood and sweat loss. The condition is very rare but there are reports in medical literature of successful treatment with beta blockers (propranolol 10 mg)with significant reduction in the frequency of spontaneous blood oozing.

The successful use of beta blockers supports the theory that the condition is induced by stress and anxiety yet this etiology is not established yet as the high prevalence of stress and anxiety in the modern era did not change the incidence of this extremely rare disease, suggesting that other co-abnormality also play a key role in this disease. Atropine sulfate transdermal patches have also been used successfully.

Favorable results with psychiatric counseling to reduce stress highlight the relationship between psychogenic causes and hematohidrosis.


The New Testament indicates that Jesus underwent hematidrosis before the Crucifixion, during the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:44).These claims are plausible, given that the modern day dermatological research notes the presence of hematidrosis in people awaiting execution. It has also been proposed as a possible explanation for claims associated with stigmata.

Leonardo da Vinci described a soldier who sweated blood before battle. The phenomenon has also been observed in individuals condemned to execution, a case occurring during the London blitz, and a case of fear of a storm while sailing, etc.

You've read about Miracles. Featured today is the story of a young woman in Italy who has a rare and mysterious condition that causes her to sweat blood. This is not to be confused with Stigmata a spontaneous manifestation of bloody wounds on a person's hands, feet, forehead and back - similar to the wounds of the crucified Jesus.

Woman's Rare Condition Causes Her to Sweat Blood, Doctors Report   Live Science - October 23, 2017
A young woman in Italy has a rare and mysterious condition that causes her to sweat blood, according to a new report of her case. The 21-year-old told her doctors that, over the last three years, she periodically experienced bleeding from her face and palms, without any cuts or skin lesions. These bleeding episodes typically lasted about 1 to 5 minutes, and were more intense when she was under emotional stress. While the woman was at the hospital, her doctors observed "the discharge of blood-stained fluid from her face," according to the report, which is published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. She was diagnosed with a rare condition in which blood oozes from intact skin and membranes.

The condition has been reported for centuries, although some doctors have been skeptical of its existence, according to Dr. Jacalyn Duffin, a medical historian and hematologist at QueenÕs University in Kingston, Ontario, who wrote a commentary accompanying the case report. But after conducting a review of recent cases of hematohidrosis - 28 cases in the last 13 years - Duffin concluded that the condition really does exist. "Credible, though scant, observations of sweating blood persist" in the medical literature, she wrote in her commentary. "This collection of well-documented observations commands respect and acceptance," she said.

However, nobody knows what causes the condition. Some researchers have hypothesized that increased pressure in blood vessels leads to the passage of blood cells through the ducts of the sweat glands. Others speculate the condition may be the result of activation of the body's "fight or flight" response, which generally occurs when people experience sudden fear or stress. This response triggers the release of certain hormones that make a person more alert. But in rare cases, it may also cause the rupture of small blood vessels, resulting in bleeding. In some cases, the condition is tied to bleeding disorders, such as conditions in which the blood doesn't clot properly, or to high blood pressure.

Descriptions of "blood sweat" go back as far as the writings of Aristotle in the third century B.C., Duffin said. In the late medieval and early modern periods, some references to bloody sweat were in the context of writings about the crucifixion of Christ, Duffin said. But starting in the 1600s, the first "eyewitness accounts" of Hematidrosis appear in the medical literature, in what doctors would consider case reports, she said.

In more recent years, there appears to have been an increase in reports of Hematidrosis - since 2013 alone, there have been 18 reported cases of hematohidrosis, Duffin said. (In total, there have been 42 reported cases of Hematidrosis in the medical literature since 1880.) Most recent cases are in young women, although some cases in men have also been reported, she said.

The Italian woman said that there did not appear to be a single trigger to her bleeding - it could occur while she was asleep, or while she was exercising or under stress. She said that she had become socially isolated as a result of her condition, and she experienced symptoms of depression and panic disorder.

Tests showed that it was indeed blood on her face, and not "colored sweat," which can occur in certain conditions. An analysis of her skin under a microscope showed normal skin tissue, the report said. The woman was treated with a medication for high blood pressure, which has been used before to treat Hematidrosis. After treatment, she experienced a "marked reduction" in her bleeding, although it did not completely stop, the report said. She was also given antidepressants for her depression symptoms.