Why you shouldn’t ignore unexplained bleeding gums
Seeing blood in the sink after brushing or flossing might look alarming, but it’s something that can happen every now and then. However, if it persists or is a cause for concern, bleeding gums is a sign we shouldn’t ignore. It could indicate something more serious, and be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Unexplained bleeding gums may be a symptom associated with leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at unexplained bleeding gums, potential causes and the link to leukaemia.
How leukaemia can cause unexplained bleeding gums Leukaemia is a type of cancer affecting the blood and bone marrow. It leads to the over-production of abnormal, cancerous white blood cells. This prevents the body creating normal blood cells, including platelets.
We bleed when small blood vessels near the skin break. Blood leaks out of the vessels and, usually, platelets help the body to clot blood and stop the bleeding. If we don’t have enough platelets, the body isn’t able to stop the bleeding and we bleed more easily and more extensively.
Bleeding due to leukaemia isn’t limited to bleeding gums. It can also cause heavier periods and random nose bleeds. Other symptoms of leukaemia
In addition to unexplained bleeding gums, there are some other symptoms linked to leukaemia. Other key signs to be aware of include:
- Unexplained bruising: because leukaemia affects platelet production, it also impacts bleeding that happens underneath the skin. This can result in heavy bruising that seems to appear without reason and that takes a long time to fully heal (more than four weeks)
- Frequent infections: leukaemia weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections
- Extreme fatigue: leukaemia impairs the production of red blood cells, limiting the amount of oxygen that reaches our body’s tissues. This can cause overwhelming fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest, hydration and lifestyle changes
What to do if you’re worried about unexplained bleeding gums
Bleeding gums can be caused by everything from lifestyle choices to injury. But if you’re experiencing unexplained bleeding gums, especially alongside other symptoms like random bruising, recurring infections and extreme fatigue, you should contact your doctor immediately to request a blood test.
Early detection and proper and timely care saves lives when it comes to leukaemia, so it’s vital to address any concerns you’ve got as soon as possible. Find your local GP.
Find out more about other leukaemia symptoms.