3 Emergency Signs Of Anticoagulant-Related Internal Bleeding

If your physician has prescribed an anticoagulant medication to lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, or blood clots, then you will need to undergo periodic blood tests. This is to help ensure that your medication is not excessively decreasing platelet aggregation.

When this happens, you may be at a heightened risk for dangerous bleeding. While periodic blood testing can help your doctor monitor the clotting ability of your blood, anticoagulant-related internal bleeding may still occur. Here are three emergency signs of anticoagulant-related internal-bleeding, and why you should seek emergency health services should you experience them:


A fast heart rate, or tachycardia, may be a sign that you are bleeding internally. While transient elevations in your heart rate or pulse are normal responses to exercise, excitement, fear, caffeine intake, and meal intake, prolonged tachycardia needs to be investigated.

Internal bleeding from anticoagulants can be heavy, and may lead to anemia. In addition to tachycardia, severe anemia may also cause pallor, weakness, jaundice, and shortness of breath. If you visit an urgent care facility because of your symptoms, the emergency health care staff will perform blood tests to evaluate your hemoglobin, platelets, and hematocrit, as well as tests to evaluate your blood's clotting mechanisms. If internal bleeding is diagnosed, you may be referred back to your personal physician, or admitted into a hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

Dizziness Or Fainting

Another potential sign of internal bleeding is dizziness or fainting. This may also be the result of severe anemia, and needs to be treated promptly. A simple blood test known as a complete blood count, or CBC, will be performed at the urgent care facility, and if your red blood count is low, you may have anemia.

While having anemia does not always mean that you have internal bleeding, the fact that you are taking prescription anticoagulant medication may raise a red flag. Before the physician can recommend an effective treatment plan, the reason for anemia needs to be determined. If your anemia is thought to be related to anticoagulant-related bleeding, the dosage may be lowered, or the doctor may discontinue the drug altogether. 

Thunderclap Headache

If you experience a thunderclap headache, seek emergency health care treatment right away. This type of headache may be the result of a cerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain. Not only can prescription anticoagulant medications cause bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract, it can also cause bleeding in the brain.

A thunderclap headache is one that comes on suddenly, like a clap of thunder, and is described as explosive and severe. If a cerebral hemorrhage is not treated as soon as possible, long-term disability and a poor prognosis may be likely.

If you take prescription anticoagulant medications to reduce your risk for a cardiovascular event or a stroke, make sure that you visit your doctor on a regular basis so that your blood can be monitored. If you develop any of the above symptoms, seek emergency health services as soon as possible. When problems are recognized and treated early on, you are more likely to enjoy a more favorable prognosis.