When does easy bruising indicate a more serious problem?

Easy bruising sometimes indicates a serious underlying condition, such as a blood-clotting problem or a blood disease. Consult your doctor if you:

  • Have frequent, large bruises, especially if your bruises appear on your trunk, back or face, or seem to develop for no known reasons
  • Have easy bruising and a history of significant bleeding, such as during a surgical procedure
  • Suddenly begin bruising, especially if you recently started a new medication
  • Have a family history of easy bruising or bleeding

These signs and symptoms can indicate low levels of or abnormally functioning platelets — components of blood that help it clot after an injury — or problems with proteins that help the blood clot. To diagnose the cause of your bruising, your doctor might check your blood platelet levels or do tests that measure the ability of your blood to clot.

Other serious causes of bruising include domestic violence or abuse. If a loved one has an unexplainable bruise, particularly in an unusual location such as on the face, you might ask about the possibility of abuse.

How can I prevent or treat bruises?

To prevent minor bruising, eliminate household clutter that could cause bumps or falls. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can provide an extra layer of protection for your skin.

Once a bruise has formed, however, not much can be done to treat it. Most bruises eventually disappear as your body reabsorbs the blood — although healing might take longer as you age. It might help to elevate the affected area and apply ice. If the sight of a bruise bothers you, cover it with clothing or makeup.

You might not be able to eliminate easy bruising. However, taking simple steps to protect your skin and avoid injury can help you try to stay bruise-free.

May. 05, 2014 See more In-depth