Why Is Bruising Easily So Prevalent In Women?

September 28, 2020.

Some people are just more prone to bruising. However, being female increases your risk of bruising easily. And it also worsens as we get older. Yet, there are so many other factors that can cause those unsightly skin discolorations. Let’s explore the causes of bruising and what you can do about it.

What is bruising?

Also called ecchymosis, bruising is where the blood vessels underneath your skin get broken from trauma. Blood leaks out from the damaged capillaries, causing a discoloration underneath the skin. Initially, bruises are blue, purple, or even black in appearance because the blood is freshest. However, as days pass, your body begins to break down and absorb the red blood cells that leaked out, causing the bruise to change to a yellow or green color. Eventually, your body absorbs all of the blood, and your skin returns to its regular coloring.

Generally, bruising happens in areas that are more exposed to injuries, such as the arms or legs. However, bruising can occur anywhere and can even be internal if you suffer from a severe injury. 

Usually, it takes some force to break capillaries and cause a bruise. However, some people can bruise with a slight impact. Sometimes, people won’t even realize they bumped into something and will later see a bruise. 

Causes of easy bruising

Several factors can cause bruising easily, and sometimes it is a combination of things that leads to this frustrating issue.

    • Aging is one of the primary causes of easy bruising. This is because blood vessels weaken as we get older, and our skin also loses its protective fatty layer and elasticity. Thus, the skin becomes thinner and doesn’t provide enough cushion to protect your soft tissues from minor bumps.
    • Medications can make you more prone to bleeding, especially those that interfere with how your blood clots. For example, medications like Plavix and coumadin prolong bleeding time to prevent blood clots in people at risk for strokes and heart attacks. Similarly, aspirin and ibuprofen can also prolong clotting time. Thus, medications can make it harder for you to stop bleeding once you have an injury.  
    • Deficiencies in essential nutrients can make you more prone to bleeding and easy bruising as well. For example, deficiencies in iron, vitamin C, and vitamin K can all increase the time it takes for your blood to clot, resulting in more significant bruises with subtle injuries. 
    • Underlying health conditions may increase your risk of bruising as well. Diabetes can increase your risk for bruising because chronically high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels. Blood clotting disorders and blood cancers (like leukemia) are rare, but they can also cause easy bruising. 

Why do women’s legs bruise easily? Or any other body part, for that matter…

Women who are otherwise very healthy sometimes struggle with easy bruising. If you are experiencing this issue and do not have any other factors that may be contributing like medication or health conditions, you are likely slightly deficient in certain nutrients. Indeed, if you are bruising easily vitamin deficiency is the most likely culprit.

Women are more likely to struggle with iron deficiency compared to men. The statistics show the 12-16% of premenopausal women have iron deficiency without anemia, over 2% of men. Women are more prone to iron deficiency because of their menstrual periods, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Some theories suggest that many women do not increase their iron intake adequately to maintain iron levels during their premenopausal years. 

Depending on your age, bruising easily may also be a sign that your skin is becoming thinner. Taking good care of your skin, eating a nutritious diet packed with good nutrients for skin support, and staying active can help reduce the severity of bruising with minor bumps.

I bruise easily. What vitamins do I need to take?

Slight nutrient deficiencies can cause easy bruising in women. Taking a multivitamin with vitamin C and iron is a great way to increase deficiencies in these key nutrients that help with clotting time. Similarly, multivitamins with vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K can help strengthen and repair skin cells. Additionally, you may also want to consider taking collagen peptides, as it can help restore collagen and boost that protective tissue in your skin. 

You can certainly get your vitamin intake through foods as well. For example, you may want to try eating more blueberries, kiwis, and strawberries for vitamin C and kale for vitamin K. 

How to treat bruises

Really, once you get a bruise, there is not much you can do. Once it happens, you just have to give it time to heal. However, icing the area immediately can help decrease swelling and suppress the bleeding. Staying active can also help your body metabolize the blood more quickly. Finally, a healthy, wholesome diet can treat and help prevent so many issues – including bruising easily.  

    

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.

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Julia Walker
perry expert Julia (RN, BSN, BA) is a registered nurse based in Colorado. Julia's nursing background in women’s health has ranged from neonatal and postpartum care to labor and delivery, to outpatient gynecological medicine for both adolescent and adult populations. She specializes in helping women optimize their health during perimenopause and beyond.

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