Haemolacria, Crying Blood, Symptoms and Causes

Crying Blood: Haemolacria | Is It Really A Disease?

Crying blood may seem like a fictional occurrence, but this condition is an actual medical condition. Crying blood referred to as Haemolacria is a rare condition that makes people cry partially or entirely made of blood.

These days, many people suffer from different diseases and Haemolacria is one of the rare diseases that has stunned most of the doctors and experts over centuries. It is characterized by shedding bloody tears or what most say “crying blood.”

In the Holy Bible, crying blood represents “crying out for vengeance or punishment for someone”. But in real life, crying blood tears do not nearly mean revenge, yet a severe condition that can manifest several other diseases.

I’ve heard stories of small children and adults crying blood up to five times a day and nothing could cure it. The story of Twinkle Dwivedi, from Lucknow India. National Geographic released the documentary called “The Girl Who Cries Blood [1]”. And the story of 15-year-old Calvino Inman, from Tennessee. He cried tears five times a day petrified me and made me more curious about what could cause someone actually to shed bloody tears? It’s quite a thinker, isn’t it?

Let’s first find out whether or not Haemolacria is actually a disease.

What is Haemolacria, aka Crying Blood?

Haemolacria is an extremely rare disorder. It causes a person to cry tears that are partially or entirely made of blood. Haemolacria is a symptom of the different type of diseases such as bacterial conjunctivitis or lacrimal tumour. The alternative name of this condition includes bloody tears, blood stain tears, haematodacryorrhea, hemolacrimia, dacryohemorrhea, sanguineous tears, tears of blood, hematic epiphora, lacrimae cruentae [2]. The stories of haemolacria have also been associated with Munchausen syndrome.

Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder where a person deliberately acts as if he or she has a psychological or physical illness, but in reality, he or she is not sick [3]. Munchausen syndrome is considered a mental illness because it is associated with severe emotional difficulties. So, when the victims of haemolacria exposed their stories, most thought it to be a Munchausen syndrome, because there was no medical explanation for their condition. When people came to know about the story of Twinkle Dwivedi, many sceptics thought that she must be suffering from the syndrome and she, with the help of her mother was faking the symptoms.

Haemolacria Symptoms

The one primary symptom of crying blood: haemolacria is bloody tears. However, after several research and studies, I came to find out that every haemolacria victim exhibited a different type of symptoms on the onset of the disease. Some diagnosed with certain conditions such as Gardner-Diamond syndrome [4]. In this case, a person bruises himself randomly, due to which he/she started bleeding from her eyes after the injury.

According to another study published by Acta Ophthalmologica [5], Acute Haemolacria might occur due to alteration in hormones infertile women. But further studies are yet to be done to provide medical evidence on this matter.

Some Facts about Haemolacria

Well, over the past decades and centuries, though after several research and studies, scientists yet failed to explain this disorder. In many cases, it still remains a mystery. However, there are certain facts that you should know about haemolacria.

Injuries can cause haemolacria

When you start to shed bloody tears, doctors usually look for any internal injury or any kind of tumours. Some of the factors that can manifest haemolacria include head injury, tumours, blood clot, injury in the tear duct, bacterial infection, and so on.

Hormonal changes can also cause bloody tears

The history of crying blood: haemolacria dates back in the 16th century when an Italian physician, Antonio Brassavola, diagnosed a nun who wept bloody tears during her menstruation. Again in 1581, a Flemish doctor wrote about a 16-year-old girl he treated, “who menstruated from her eyes, like drops of blood tears, instead of through her uterus.” Hence, researchers studied this abnormal condition and found that menstruation can sometimes cause occult haemolacria. In the result of a 1991 study of 125 participants, menstruation contributed to occult haemolacria. It found that 18 per cent of fertile women had some blood in their tears, while only 7 per cent of pregnant women, 8 per cent of men, and no post-menopausal women show signs of bloody tears [6].

An infection like Ebola Virus causes haemolacria

Certain systemic functions like Ebola virus can also cause haemolacria. The virus causes hemorrhagic fevers (fevers that damages the blood vessels). It leads the blood vessels to burst, causing the blood to leak throughout the body. Patients can develop bruising, bleeding mucous membranes, and bloody tears as a result of infections.

Haemolacria mostly affects young people

Among all the rare cases of haemolacria that we’ve known, there’s one common thing; it mostly affects young people. There’s, however, no scientific reason to explain why only young ones suffer from this condition.

Haemolacria usually disappears on its own

James Fleming, the renowned ophthalmologist at the Hamilton Eye Institute, states that haemolacria disappears typically on its own [7]. He said,

“Most of these were relatively young patients, as they matured, the bleeding decreased, subsided, and then stopped. In all patients, bloody tearing eventually resolved without further sequela. No recurrence has been reported over a follow-up period of 9 months to 11 years.”

Well, that’s kind of relieving to hear! He further states that through bloody tears seem like a frightening disease, it’s not a life-threatening condition, and it gets cured on its own if there are no underlying factors behind its cause.

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[1] https://books.google.com/books/about/Twinkle_Dwivedi.html?id=jxCftgAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539774/

[3] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001555.htm

[4] https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6481/gardner-diamond-syndrome

[5] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1755-3768.1991.tb02038.x

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1750328

[7]https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/medical-mystery-man-sheds-tears-blood-8C11418693

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