Can You Sweat Blood? Apparently You Can & It's As Horrifying As It Sounds
I don't know about you, but when I'm immersed in an intense workout, the sweat factor is real. Like, I low-key look like I just casually took a shower, but nah, that's just my perspiration doin' its damn job. One time, though, I actually dreamed my pool of sweat had somehow transformed into a puddle of blood. And while I thought crimson sweat was just the stuff of my nightmares, it did have me wondering, can you sweat blood, for real? As it turns out, you totally can.
According to research from the Indian Journal of Dermatology, sweating blood is a real medical condition called hematohidrosis. Apparently it can happen to people suffering from bleeding disorders, but it can even happen to a person dealing with something as simple as extremely high stress levels. The condition causes sweaty blood to ooze out of the skin, palms, and even eyes — which is what began happening to a 21-year-old woman over the course of three years.
NY Daily News reports that the unidentified woman told researchers looking into her condition that more intense instances of hematohidrosis tended to happen when she was more emotionally stressed than usual, and the episodes lasted from one to five minutes.
The bloody perspiration was known to occur while she was asleep or during times of physical activity, without warning.
According to NY Daily News, the woman had apparently become socially isolated due to these episodes, and she eventually had to be treated for depression. TIME Health additionally reports that the woman initially baffled the doctors at the hospital she was admitted to, but once they investigated more into her condition, they decided to treat her with a medication called propranolol, which is typically used to help stabilize a person's blood pressure and heart rate.
Though the bleeding didn't stop entirely, the treatment did significantly reduce the woman's unfortunate symptoms. Medical historian and hematologist Jacalyn Duffin wrote that while hematohidrosis is extremely rare, it's not new or completely unheard of. In fact, as TIME interestingly points out, the Bible does say that Jesus was apparently known to sweat blood, though that obviously doesn't make it any less shocking for us see it in person ourselves centuries after the fact.
And yes, as strange as this medical condition might seem to us, in other species, it's really not all that jaw-dropping.
While sweating blood may seem totally bizarre in humans, it's actually pretty common for some animals, and they're totally chill about it.
Apparently hippopotamuses look like they're sweating blood on the reg, and we still all still think they're cute as hell, right?
However, according to the San Diego Zoo's website, hippos don't actually possess "true sweat glands." Rather, they actually "secrete a thick, red substance from their pores known as 'blood sweat.'" The blood sweat then forms a protective layer of mucus to keep the hippo's skin moist and shield it from sunburn. So, even if you think hippos are a little less cute with their crimson-looking "sweat," keep in mind that it's actually a necessary part of their survival.
So, if there's anything to take away from this, I suppose it's that our main dude Winston Churchill was onto something when he coined the phrase "blood, sweat, and tears." And, if you ever start sweating blood yourself, at least you'll know you're not dying, I guess? Although, fun fact, if sweat starts coming out of your eyes, be sure not to confuse hematohidrosis with haemolacria, the latter of which is a condition that causes you to specifically cry tears filled with blood. Guys, the human body blows. My. Freaking. Mind.
Anyway, we can all take a little comfort in the fact that, while these conditions may look startling, they're all able to be remedied through modern medicine, or they may even go away on their own.
Well, if you're squeamish, you probably hate me now. Good day.