CPR First Aid

Can a Punch to the Stomach Cause Internal Bleeding

Can a Punch to the Stomach Cause Internal Bleeding?

There is this sustained culture of “boys being boys”. This consists of roughhousing and trading blows with one another just to name a few. 

In many cases, these traded strikes will cause little to no damage. It may cause pain for a while or bruising. 

Unfortunately, we can’t say this for all blows. In some cases, strikes on certain parts of the body can have lasting effects. Some could even prove fatal. 

In addition, even if there aren’t any effects on the outside, there could be some damage sustained on the inside of the body. 

One thing we’ll examine today is whether a punch to the stomach can cause internal bleeding. Let’s investigate.

Bleeding Internally

Before examining whether a punch can be strong enough to cause this type of bleeding, let’s first look into what it is first. 

What Is This Condition? 

As the name suggests, this condition occurs when a person bleeds within their body as opposed to externally from a wound. It is also commonly referred to in the medical community as haemorrhaging. 

This type of bleeding usually occurs due to trauma delivered to a body part. With enough force, it can damage blood vessels inside the body. 

Is It Serious?

Bleeding internally is very serious for a person.

For starters, having a wound on a body part is good (in a sense) because people can easily see where the bleeding is coming from. The same cannot be said for when bleeding happens inside the body. This is what makes it particularly dangerous and serious. 

If it is not identified early on, or if treatment is late, it can have fatal consequences. 

Apart from that, this type of bleeding brings along many symptoms such as weakness, hypotension, and bleeding in other areas of the body just to name a few. 

Different Types

When a person bleeds internally, it is usually due to an injury. The cause of that injury could either be blunt trauma or piercing trauma. 

Blunt Injury

Blunt injuries or trauma takes place when a part of the body smashes into something else with great force. The force then ruptures, tears, or crushes the blood vessels within the body part. Examples of this include falling from height and vehicular accidents

Penetrating Injury

Penetrating injuries or trauma happen when an object pierces straight through the body. As opposed to the blood vessels being crushed or ruptured, this type of injury creates a direct hold into the many vessels it hits. 

Examples of this type of injury include being shot by a gun or stabbed by a knife. In both cases, they penetrate through the body, damaging both the outsides and the insides of a person. 

With both of these types, it is important to note that all organs and blood vessels can be damaged, leading to bleeding on the inside of the body. 

Can a Stomach Punch Cause Internal Bleeding? 

After discussing the types of injuries that can cause this type of bleeding, it is easy to surmise that with enough force, a punch to the gut is capable of causing internal haemorrhaging. These punches fall into the blunt category.

Not every punch that lands on the abdomen will cause this type of bleeding. There are many factors that come into consideration. 

Factors to Consider

The most obvious factor is the strength of the punch. If a person doesn’t punch strong enough, then not enough blunt trauma will affect the person’s blood vessels. 

Next is the strength of defence and training. There are people who have trained in martial arts or other physical sports. Their training has led them to have rock-hard abs that can help cushion the blow to the stomach area. Bear in mind though that the person must be ready for the attack, tensing the abs area during impact. 

Finally, there is the angle or point of impact. There are several organs that can be affected by a significant strike to the stomach. 

Organs Most Likely to Be Affected

A punch to the stomach can affect and damage several organs. These include the liver, the spleen, and the pancreas. 

Liver

Located right below the right rib, the liver is a particularly dangerous organ to injure because it contains many large blood vessels. This causes a significant amount of blood to gush out internally. This will result in a number of symptoms, with a swollen abdomen area being one of them. 

While it is possible for these types of injuries to heal over time, if the bleeding worsens, surgery will have to be done to staunch the bleeding. This is the case with all these organs.

The liver is important to people as one of its vital functions helps break down and balance nutrients. It is not possible for people to live without a liver.

Spleen

Next up is the spleen which is located to the left of the stomach and behind the left side of the ribs. This damage is more commonly referred to as a ruptured spleen. 

This organ helps people’s bodies stave off infections. It also helps to take out and filter any red blood cells that are old or damaged. 

Pancreas

Finally comes the pancreas which is situated right behind the stomach. The pancreas is an important part of a person’s digestive system. Their function is two-fold. 

The first is that it creates certain enzymes that help people digest the food that they eat. The second is that hormones coming from the pancreas help to control the sugar in a person’s bloodstream. This is why diabetes is commonly connected with the pancreas.

Just like with the other organs, a ruptured pancreas can cause severe bleeding internally. This could eventually lead to death. 

Apart from that, it could manifest infections that are just as dangerous. 

Identifying and Treating Internal Bleeding

As stated previously, it is not easy to identify whether a person has internal haemorrhaging. However, there are several possible signs and symptoms to look out for. 

Symptoms When Bleeding Internally

There are many possible symptoms when a person is bleeding internally. These include:

  • Passing out
  • Feeling weak
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Having lower than normal blood pressure

There are other symptoms that are telltale signs though. For starters, it is darker urine, stool, and vomit. This is due to the blood swirling inside. 

Apart from that, another sure sign that the bleeding is coming from within the abdomen is that the areas around the stomach will be bruised.

Treatment For Bleeding Internally

For treatment, in some cases when the bleeding is not that serious, it will eventually go away on its own and the person will heal right up. In this case, the best thing to do is rest and control the symptoms as much as possible. 

If symptoms do not go away, or if they worsen, it may be time to head to the doctor. Treatment will usually include surgery. The type of surgery is largely dependent on how grave the injury is, a person’s overall health, and where the injury is. 

See the Unseen

Bleeding from a normal wound is already something that should be treated with care. What more with bleeding that happens within our bodies? 

It is essential to spot signs and symptoms of internal bleeding because it is hidden. Catching it early potentially saves lives. 

With how dangerous it is, we hope that this will allow you to make an informed decision about punching or getting punched in the stomach. 

With how serious this type of bleeding is, it is also important to know the first aid practices for it. These include laying a person down and raising their legs over their heart.

Learn more about what to do in this and many more situations through CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course. 

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