What Happens When You Burst a Vein?

When a blood vessel such as a vein bursts, a small amount of blood is released into the body, according to Healthline. Burst veins occur for many reasons, but the most frequent cause is an injury to the affected area, which appears as a bruise.

Treatment for a burst blood vessel, called a hematoma, depends on what area of the body is affected. A hematoma can cause irritation, pain, swelling or redness and can be life-threatening if it occurs in the brain. Most hematomas heal without treatment, but bleeding may continue if the damage is severe or a blood vessel continues to leak. Some drugs such as aspirin, steroids or blood thinners can cause a hematoma. Bleeding into the skin, or bruising, can be a sign of certain diseases and conditions such as leukemia, meningitis, strep throat or sepsis, which is a bacterial infection that affects the entire body, states Healthline.

Superficial hematomas can be treated with rest, ice, compression, elevation and, in some cases, heat. Healthy tissue reddens when pressure is applied and then turns pale, but on the site of a hematoma the tissue stays red, according to Healthline. The most dangerous type of hematoma occurs inside the skull, because there is no space for expansion and the swelling can cause brain damage, states Medicinenet.