Mystery is for doctors the case of a 21-year-old Italian who bleeds of face and hands without obvious cause.
The young woman, describing her condition, told doctors that for years she had bleeding from the face and arms that could last from 1 to 5 minutes. According to the bleeding itself, it can begin either asleep or while exercising with its intensity increasing as the anxiety of the 21-year-old grows.
Two doctors at the University of Florence who examined the woman wrote to the Canadian Medical Association Journal that her condition has affected her completely. “Our patient has been socially isolated as she is ashamed of her condition, with the result that she has developed symptoms of panic attacks and major depressive episodes,” the two doctors said, clarifying that the 21-year-old had symptoms for three years before taking medical assistance.
A first move by the doctors was to give the 21-year-old anxiolytic but the bleeding did not stop. The official diagnosis after the examinations was that the woman suffers from “hematohydrosis” a rare condition in which the patient “sweats” with blood from his skin. So the next step for doctors was to administer 21-year-old propranolol, a drug that regulates pressure to reduce bleeding.
So far, 24 similar incidents have been recorded over the last 15 years. The majority of cases involved young women or children who were bleeding after an emotional trauma such as a violent incident at home or at school. In all cases, bleeding lasted from one month to four years.