A 21-year-old woman has been diagnosed with an extremely rare condition that causes her to sweat blood from her face and the palms of her hands.
After being admitted to hospital, the unnamed patient left Italian doctors baffled after they were unable to find any sign of skin lesion, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports.
And, while medics said there was no obvious trigger for the spontaneous bleeding, the woman reported episodes occurring while she slept or carried out physical activity.
What’s more, the bizarre symptoms were said to intensify during times of emotional stress and could last anywhere between one and five minutes long.
Having suffered with the unusual bleeding for three years, the woman also reported feeling socially isolated owing to embarrassment and showed symptoms consistent with major depressive disorder and panic disorder.
After several tests, doctors confirmed that the woman’s blood count and blood-clotting functions were normal, eventually diagnosing her with hematohidrosis – an extremely rare condition that causes a person to excrete blood through unbroken skin.
Thought to affect just one in 10 million people, doctors treated her with a beta-blocker medication called propranolol.
But, while it managed to substantially reduce her symptoms it was unable to completely stop them.
In an accompanying commentary, Canadian medical historian and hematologist Jacalyn Duffin said she was at first sceptical over the claims and feared that the Italian doctors had been deceived.
However, after examining medical literature she agreed that though the condition is rare, it is very real.
While little is known about hematohidrosis it is thought that as anxiety increases, the blood vessels which surround the sweat glands constrict to the point of rupture, which push it to the surface of the skin alongside sweat.