Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Verh K Acad Geneeskd Belg. 1991;53(1):5-28.
[Article in Dutch]
Centrum voor Trombose en Vasculair Onderzoek, K.U.L., Leuven.
Psychogenic "purpura" consists in the spontaneous appearance of recurrent bruising, it is a reality which is still unexplained.
Most often woman with an underlying emotional disorder are affected. In addition to cutaneous ecchymoses and hematomas they may have menometrorrhagia, hematuria, epistaxis and gastrointestinal bleeding in addition to many other complaints encompassing multiple organ systems.
Cutaneous bruising is heralded by a burning or stinging sensation followed after a few hours by local warmth, puffiness and erythema, most often with some itching. The pain subsides when the ecchymoses appear a day later or earlier. Blood coagulation and hemostatic tests remain normal in all patients.
A rare but poorly studied variety of psychogenic bleeding are religious or other stigmata with periodic bleeding at hands and feet, under the left breast and at the forehead, occasionally with bloody tears. It would be risky to substitute one poorly understood diagnosis (stigmata) with another (hysterical conversion). It is very difficult to distinguish spontaneous psychogenic from selfinflicted iatrogenic bleeding (purpura factitia) because patients may have the same obsessive-compulsive behavior or hysterical trait.
Moreover, patients with self-induced bleeding act in a most clever manner and their continuous observation is difficult.
The differential diagnosis with the "battered child" syndrome is rather easy. Other bleeding disorders with normal coagulation tests are an inherited failure of the collagen biosynthesis (f.i. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) or congenital or acquired vascular disorders (purpura senilis of Bateman, vitamin C deficiency, morbus Schamberg, purpura annularis of Majocchi, orthostatic purpura).
There is virtually no scientific information on the interaction between the nervous system and hemostasis or blood coagulation. The only therapeutic approach in patients with psychogenic bleeding is psychiatric with particular attention to the sociocultural background of the patient and his family.