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A woman started crying ‘bloody tears’ while on her period due to an extremely rare condition

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Apr 23, 2021 5:44 pm

No, her “bloody tears” are not of supernatural origins.

The recent BMJ Case Reports examined the case of a 25-year-old woman from India who was suffering from haemolacria, an extremely rare physical condition in which blood is found in a person’s tears.

The woman arrived at the hospital crying bloody tears but that wasn’t the first time she experienced such an episode. One month prior to seeking help from the doctors, the woman experienced nasal bleeding but did not seek medical attention. And on both occasions, she was menstruating.

Upon doctors’ examination, the woman did not appear to have any injuries in her eyes, nor did they hurt. An ophthalmologist examined her eyes, eyelids, sclera, conjunctiva, lacrimal sac area and fluid pressure in the eye, which were all found normal.

Her gynecological, and ear, nose and throat examinations also came out normal. A psychiatric evaluation revealed that the woman has no mental illness.

The woman was also cleared from other conditions that may have caused haemolacria like trauma, bleeding disorders and infections.

A 25-year-old woman from India was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called haemolacria, where her tears turn bloody during her period. Photo from the British Medical Journal 

Once she was cleared from all the common causes of haemolacria, the doctors diagnosed the woman with even rarer ocular vicarious menstruation, a condition so rare that according to the case report, there are very few and no such recent case reported in the literature.

In order to determine that it was indeed ocular vicarious menstruation, doctors tested both the woman’s bloody tears and a blood sample from a different part of her body. They found that both samples yielded the same body type, which is an indication that the woman’s bloody tears were the result of her body functioning.

The woman was given treatment with combination estrogen-progesterone oral contraceptive pills. “During subsequent three months follow-up, no such episode recurred,” the case report stated.

As to what causes the rare bloody tears, doctors are reportedly still unsure. However, there are studies saying this rare condition could be the result of increased sex hormones (like estrogen and progesterone) when a woman is on her period, which might increase the blood flow to the eyes.

According to the case report, the vicarious menstruation occurs between the “third and fourth decades of life."

As the condition is defined as “cyclical bleeding that occurs anywhere that is not the genitals when a woman is on her period,” the case report says vicarious menstruation is also known to occur not only from the eyes but also from many sources like the nose, eyelids, ears, intestine, lungs, nipples and even skin.