Automobile accidents can be traumatic experiences, often leaving individuals with immediate and visible injuries. However, some injuries may not be quickly apparent, such as internal bleeding. Symptoms sometimes do not manifest for hours or even days.
Recognizing the signs of internal bleeding should lead you to seek prompt medical attention. Here are four common symptoms to watch out for.
Pain in the abdomen
It is not uncommon to experience abdominal pain following an automobile collision. However, if this pain persists or worsens over time, it could be a sign of internal bleeding. Blood loss in the abdominal area can irritate the lining of the abdominal cavity, leading to pain and tenderness. The discomfort may range from mild to severe. Swelling or bruising in the abdomen can also result.
Feeling dizzy or weak after an accident may happen because of shock or adrenaline, but these sensations might also indicate internal bleeding. Losing blood can lead to a drop in blood pressure, reducing the oxygen supply to vital organs. This could result in dizziness, lightheadedness, and overall weakness.
Internal bleeding can also affect the chest area, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath. If you find it difficult to breathe or you experience rapid, shallow breathing after an accident, it may be a sign of a serious condition. The accumulation of blood in the chest can put pressure on the lungs, impeding their ability to expand fully, resulting in breathing struggles.
Internal bleeding in the digestive tract sometimes manifests as blood in vomit or stool. If you notice blood in your vomit or dark, tarry stools after a car accident, you have a likely indication of internal bleeding in the gastrointestinal system, which may be life-threatening.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, severe internal bleeding can lead to death in hours without treatment. Even if you manage to walk away from an auto accident, remain alert to possible symptoms of a possibly fatal condition.