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Woman, 21, ‘sweats’ BLOOD from face and palms of hands

  • Patient was hospitalised in Florence after suffering bizarre symptoms for 3 years
  • The unnamed woman’s bleeding was most intense when she was under stress
  • Doctors determined she wasn’t faking it and diagnosed her with hematohidrosis
  • Canadian hematologist first suspected the Italian medics had been duped
  • But the medical literature confirms the condition, said to affect one in 10 million

A 21-year-old woman was admitted to hospital with an extremely rare condition that causes her to sweat blood from her face and the palms of her hands.

Italian doctors were left puzzled after the unnamed patient appeared with the bizarre symptoms despite not showing any sign of skin lesions. 

Medics said there was no obvious trigger for the spontaneous bleeding, which could happen while she slept or carried out physical activity.

Her bleeding was most intense when she felt stressed, it was reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Doctors in Florence report that the patient had suffered the unusual symptoms for the past three years and episodes last between one and five minutes 

Doctors in Florence, Italy, describe the case of a young women with a history of spontaneous bleeding from her palms and face 


Hematohidrosis is a rare condition that gives the illusion sufferers are sweating blood from unbroken skin.

This may occur due to the expansion and rupturing of blood vessels beneath the skin at times of stress.

Sufferers may experience weakness and mild dehydration from the blood loss.

There is no cure.

Drugs known as beta blockers may help to ease the condition, possibly by minimising patient’s stress and anxiety.

Hematohidrosis’ exact prevalence is unknown, but may be as little as one in 10 million people.  

The woman has reportedly become depressed and socially isolated because of the condition.

Doctors ruled out that she wasn’t faking it and tests revealed her blood count and blood-clotting functions were normal.

They eventually diagnosed her with hematohidrosis, which is thought to affect just one in 10 million people.

She was treated her with propranolol – a beta-blocker medication which substantially reduced her symptoms but has not completely stopped them.

The condition is real

It’s so rare that many people – including doctors – don’t know it exists or if it’s real. 

Canadian medical historian and hematologist Jacalyn Duffin, who wrote a commentary that accompanies the journal article, revealed she was at first skeptical and suspected the Italian doctors had been duped. 

But after exhaustively examining the medical literature she changed her view. 

Not much is known about its cause, but it’s thought to be a result of extreme stress or fear. 

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, the many blood vessels which surround the sweat gland constrict, or narrow, under the pressure of stress.

As the anxiety increases, the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture. The blood goes into the sweat glands, which push it along with sweat to the surface, presenting as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.

Medical literature makes reference to Leonardo Da Vinci describing a soldier who sweated blood before battle and Jesus experienced hematohidrosis while praying in the garden of Gethsemane before his crucification. 


MailOnline reported in May on another case of a young girl who bleeds from her eyes, nose, ears and skin every time she gets a headache.

Phakamad Sangchai , 7, from Nongkghai, Thailand, started profusely bleeding almost six months ago before then.

A 7-year-old girl from Thailand called Phakamad also suffers with hematohidrosis

A 7-year-old girl from Thailand called Phakamad also suffers with hematohidrosis

Despite receiving treatment at a local hospital, Phakamad continues to suffer from the baffling condition, leaving her family desperate for help.

Phakamed said: ‘I don’t want to be famous, but I just want someone to help me with this mystery illness. It is really spoiling my life and I am so concerned that it will get worse.’

She too is thought to have hematohidrosis.  

Phakamad's family says the condition doesn't cause her pain

They say she is a 'brave girl'

The child bleeds from her eyes, nose, ears and skin every time she gets a headache

Despite Phakamed’s disorder, Ms Khantain insists her spirits have not been dampened by the mysterious bleeding.

She said: ‘My daughter has always been a very happy child and still continues to smile when she can, she is a very brave girl.’ 


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