A 25-year-old woman from Chandigarh cried tears of blood, while she was menstruating. After several tests, doctors ended up diagnosing her with a rare disorder.
Recently, a 25-year-old woman visited the hospital because she experienced a bloody discharge from her eyes. She had to undergo several clinical tests including ophthalmology and radiology for doctors to diagnose her correctly. The reason behind this occurrence became harder to find because the reports came out normal. This was the second time the woman experienced this.
The only common nexus between both the times she had cried tears of blood was the fact that she had been menstruating. After this finding, it became a little clearer that the complaint of ‘bloody’ tears was an obvious case of vicarious menstruation, that is, bleeding from other organs besides the uterus during periods. The most common place for bleeding is from one’s nose but it can also happen from lips, eyes, lungs, and stomach. In this, cyclical bleeding in extragenital organs takes place during the normal menstrual cycle.
This woman’s condition is actually known as ‘Haemolacria’ which causes a person to produce tears that are partially composed of blood. The discovery of bleeding from the conjunctiva, apart from when an injury is caused, has been a fairly rare occurrence.
The cases where women have been found crying tears of blood, have been attributed to extragenital haemorrhages that take place at periodic intervals corresponding to the dates of the menstrual cycle. However, even though all these phenomena do add up to explain what happened with the woman, it should also be noted that bloody tears, also known as Haemolacria, caused by a lot of ocular and systematic conditions is extremely rare. More so, Haemolacria caused by vicarious menstruation is even rarer.
According to a report published on Feb. 14 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, common causes of haemolacria include inflammation, trauma, lesions, tumours, hypertension, diseases such as jaundice and anaemia, and vascular disorders.
The report also mentions that certain types of tissues in the eye are known to be affected by hormonal changes; for example, the cornea’s curve and thickness can vary during different phases of menstrual period, pregnancy and lactation, which could explain why the woman’s menstruation triggered bleeding from her eyes.
Some cases of Haemolacria were also triggered when the patient saw something or through mental elements. For example, an 11-year-old girl from Romania, reportedly wept tears of blood only once, when she saw a dog get hit by a car.
The woman, who reportedly cried tears of blood, said that it is not painful or uncomfortable, it is just simple plain absurd. The doctors treated her with oral contraceptives, and after three months of hormonal therapy, the woman experienced no additional bleeding incidents.