Cases of people crying blood have been reported since the 1500s, a rare disorder which we now call haemolacria- quite literally, “bloody tears”. As suspected, the condition results in tears that are partially or entirely composed of blood. Although this affliction has yet to be fully understood, there are some things that we do know.

First of all, hormonal changes can contribute. In the 16th century, some of the oldest recorded cases are Italian doctor Antonio Brassavola’s statements speaking of a menstruating nun who suffered, as well as a Flemish physician who wrote on a 16-year old girl “who discharged her flow throughout the eyes, as drops of bloody tears, instead of through the uterus.”

Interestingly enough, this is substantiated by modern science. A 1991 study of 125 healthy subjects found that menstruation contributed to traces of blood in tears, a phenomenon called “occult haemolacria”. According to the resulting paper, 18 percent of fertile women’s tears contain blood, whearas only 7 percent of pregnant women, 8 percent of men and no women who were post-menopause displayed signs of bloody tears. The conclusion reached by the scientists was that “Occult haemolacria in fertile women thus seems to be induced by hormones, whereas haemolacria most often is provoked by local factors (bacterial conjunctivitis, environmental damage, injuries).”

Injuries can also cause haemolacria. In March of 2013, a man of Canadian origin was walking along a beach when a poisonous snake bit him, resulting in agonizing swelling and kidney failure…in addition to the man weeping tears of blood. Doctors accredited the bloody tears to the prodigious amounts of internal bleeding brought about by the snake’s venom. In many cases of haemolacria, the blood can be attributed to various illnesses and ailments, including:

  • Severe anemia
  • Head injury
  • A tear in the tear duct
  • Tumors or vascular malformations
  • Various coagulopathies, including haemophila
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Nosebleeds in someone who has “reversed” flow in the nasolacrimal ducts


Works Cited
Holohan, Meghan. “Haemolacria: A Rare Condition That Makes People Cry Blood.” Mental Floss. Mental Floss, 31 Oct. 2013. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.
“Is It Possible to Cry Tears of Blood, or Have…” Dr. Cranquis’ Mumbled Gripes. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.




The word inflammation derives from the Latin “inflammo” meaning “to set alight”. Occurrences such as burns, infections, radiation exposure, or frostbite trigger this reaction. It is likely that you have had this happen to you. In the case of questions as to the internal maneuvers that cause inflammation, I hope to shed some light on the topic.

First, the blood vessels dilate and blood flow increases to the area of damage. The blood vessels themselves become more permeable, allowing the plasma to escape from the blood into the extracellular fluid, which culminates in the swelling of the region that is affected. Leukocytes, or white blood cells, also escape from blood vessels in the area, and release chemicals that may cause pain. Together, these changes produce classic inflammation symptoms- redness, swelling, heat, pain, and tenderness.

As the progression of the inflammation occurs, leukocytes migrate in expanded numbers from the bloodstream and into the area that is injured. This response continues until the invading organisms and dead tissues have been removed. Next, the inflammation is resolved-the excess fluid is drained from the region by the lymphatics, the blood vessels constrict and thus become less permeable, and the redness, swelling, and heat subside.

Additionally, if tissue damage has occurred, the healing process will also involve regeneration of tissue-the repeated division of surviving tissue cells to replace the damaged ones. Not all tissues can regenerate, however, such as nerve and brain cells. In addition, extensive damage may not procure regenerative results.

Occasionally, surgical intervention may be required to aid the healing process. In some cases, dead cells, tissue, and bacteria may congregate to for pus, which in turn may collect and form an abscess, which may need to be drained. If there are large areas of dead tissue, the dead tissue requires removal.

A diagram of the inflammatory processes.


Works Cited
Ashwell, Ken W. S. “Healing.” Anatomica: The Complete Home Medical Reference. Richmond Hill, Ont.: Firefly, 2010. 26. Print.
“Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 25 May 2015. Web. 05 July 2015.



Hemophilia is a group of bleeding disorders. The two most common types are Hemophilia A (or classic hemophilia) and Hemophilia B (or Christmas disease).

The F8 (Factor VIII) gene produces the protein antihemophilic factor (AHF) in humans.This protein is essential for routine blood clotting functions. In individuals with hemophilia A, this protein is absent or dysfunctional. For those with the less common hemophilia B,  Factor IX is the gene responsible.

Symptoms of the disorder:

  • Severe nosebleeds
  • Easy bruising
  • Blood in urine (hematuria) /stools
  • Heavy bleeding/hemorrhage after bumps, dental work, minor cuts, or other trauma
  • Joint pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding in women who are carriers

Associated Complications:

  • Damage to joints (including elbows, knees, and ankles)
  • Damage to muscles, causing significant scarring and pain
  • Severe anemia as a result of blood loss
  • Bleeding in digestive system
  • Bleeding inside head (intracranial hemorrhage)
  • Compartment syndrome (develops when bleeding in muscles puts pressure on the arteries and nerves within, resulting in serious limb damage)


Hemophilia is caused by a sex-linked mutation-that is, a mutation to genes that are carried on either the X or the Y chromosomes. Both types of hemophilia discussed are X-linked recessive traits.Therefore, females are usually only carriers, as they have two X chromosomes. In order for a female to have hemophilia, both of her parents must pass on the faulty genes. Males, on the other hand, have only one X chromosome, and thus if a male inherits the faulty gene, hemophilia will develop.



It is possible for a new genetic mutation to occur-that is, the person gets hemophilia even if neither parent carries a genetic mutation.


Detection of Carriers

Carriers of hemophilia are detected by a process of carrier testing. These tests may involve:

  • Creating a family tree. A genetic counselor or physician may help a woman create a detailed family history called a pedigree chart in order to determine information for three generations. This chart would aid in identifying possible carriers within the family.
  • Factor levels can be tested. Factor level tests, accurate 70% to 90% of the time in determining carrier status, involve the testing of the blood of the woman. On average, carriers have lower levels of factors 8 or 9 than women who are not carriers.
  • DNA testing is still the most accurate method. For this test, DNA of the tested is examined for genetic changes that could cause hemophilia. The two types available are direct mutation testing, and linkage (indirect testing).
  • Prenatal testing involves testing a small amount of amniotic fluid, blood from the umbilical cord or placenta, and can be done early in the pregnancy.


Hemophilia can be treated by injecting AHF (isolated from donated blood) into the hemophiliac (the AHF is slowly injected or dripped into the veins). The donated blood must be meticulously screened and scrutinized for infectious diseases, however the AHF injections relieve the most severe effects of the disorder. With appropriate treatment, hemophiliacs can live relatively normal lives.

Even though gene therapy remains a great hope, so far there is no workable cure for hemophilia. In a small number of hemophiliacs with liver transplants, their hemophilia was completely cured, due to the clotting factor being made in the liver. Transplants, however, are much too risky to be used as a cure.

Another possible cure is fetal hepatocyte transplantation. Fetal hepatocytes are the liver cells of an aborted fetus. These cells can function as normal liver cells would and can be grown in a laboratory. As the scientists research, they hope that these cells can eventually be placed in the body of a hemophiliac and thus produce the clotting factor for the affected person.

Some precautions to take are:

  • Avoid taking nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirins (these may contain blood thinners).
  • Get vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine.
  • Avoid circumcising male offspring of women known to be carriers until the infant has been tested for hemophilia.
  • Carry identification information identifying those with the disorder.
  • Avoid activities with a high collision risk.
  • Take extra care to protect the head from injury.
  • Be aware of the effects of activities with high impact.
  • Practice good dental care to reduce the risk of major dental work.

So far, there are no guidelines as to how to prevent hemophilia. However, talk to genetic counselors if you have a family history of the disease so that you can calculate the risk for potential offspring.

Interesting Facts:

  • Hemophilia earned the nickname “royal disease” or “disease of kings” because Queen Victoria passed on the disorder to her son Leopold who in turn passed it through many royal lineages of Europe.
  • Hemophilia B is also called Christmas disease. The name originates from the first patient reported to have it, a man named Stephen Christmas.
  • The disease was first called haemorrhaphilia.

Works Cited

Carson-DeWitt, Rosalyn, MD. “Hemophilia (Hemophilia A—Factor VIII Deficiency; Classic Hemophilia; Hemophilia B—Factor IX Deficiency; Christmas Disease).” Consumer Health Complete. EBSCOhost, June 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

“Complications of Hemophilia-Topic Overview.” WebMD. WebMD, 03 Aug. 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

“Gene Therapy as an Alternative to Conventional Treatment of Haemophilia.” Evoscience. Evoscience, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

“Hemophilia Carrier Testing.” Steps for Living. NHF, 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

“Hemophilia.” KidsHealth. Ed. Suzanne Nielsen. The Nemours Foundation, 01 Jan. 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

“Hemophilia Tests.” Hemophilia Tests. RnCeus, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

“Hemophilia.” University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland Medical Center, 07 May 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

“Heredity of Hemophilia.” – Canadian Hemophilia Society. Canadian Hemophilia Society, 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

“History of Bleeding Disorders.” National Hemophilia Foundation. NHF, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

“HoG Handbook.” Curing Hemophilia Hemophilia The Basics HoG Handbook Hemophilia of Georgia. Hemophilia of Georgia, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

Levine, Joseph, Ph. D. “Sex-Linked Genetic Disorders.” Biology. By Kenneth R. Miller. Third ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1995. 238. Print.

“Living With Hemophilia – Bayer HealthCare.” Living With Hemophilia – Bayer HealthCare. Bayer Group, 18 June 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

Miller, Kenneth R., Ph. D., and Joseph Levine, Ph. D. Biology. Third ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1995. Print.

“National Hemophilia Foundation.” National Hemophilia Foundation. NHF, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

“Patient Education: About Hemophilia.” UC San Diego Health System. UC San Diego Health System, 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

Shapiro, Amy D., MD, and Whitney Sealls, Ph. D. “Hemophilia B.” Rare-Diseases. National Organization for Rare Disorders, 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.

“What Causes Hemophilia? :: DNA Learning Center.” DNALC Blogs. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

“What Causes Hemophilia?” – NHLBI, NIH. NHLBI, NIH, 31 July 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.