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Hematoma (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Most hematomas are due to minor trauma and the patient is aware of the injury and its circumstances. Most resolve without any consequence and need no evaluation.

It is important to pay attention to specific hematomas because of their complications. Head injuries should always be taken seriously because a small amount of blood and clot can cause significant pressure changes within the skull and perhaps lead to brain damage.

Blood clots are not normal in the urine or in bowel movements because they may be associated with significant bleeding. Blood in these locations may be associated with infections, cancers, tumors, or other lesions that can be life-threatening but potentially curable if found early. (Please note that bladder infections may be associated with hematuria orblood in the urine and may not need further evaluation once the infection has been treated; clot and hematoma formation is rare.)

While most people have bruising as a common injury due to the minor accidents of daily life, some people with bleeding disorders where their blood lacks certain clotting factors may develop unexplained bruising and bleeding and may benefit from seeking medical care. Similarly, patients who take blood thinners are at higher risk of bleeding from minor injuries and it is prudent for these people to seek medical attention if they sustain even minor injuries.

A relatively uncommon infection, meningitis in adults orchildren, can be caused by the bacteria, Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus). Symptoms may include headache with high fever, confusion, vomiting, and stiff neck associated with a petechial rash (small hematomas visible in the skin). This infection is seen in high school and college age students and is potentially quickly lethal. If this disease is suspected, medical care should be sought immediately.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2014

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