Have you heard of females, waking up with bluish-blackish spots on arms or thighs without a known history of trauma? These unexplained skin marks are often attributed to Witch’s or “Bokshi’s” bite by old people, here in Nepal. As vampires are to Western culture, witches are to South Asian culture for both have a questionable existence and are thought to bite innocent human beings but we are not obsessed to the later as with Vampires. Witches are regarded as near equivalent to the female ghosts who practice witchcraft, a form of magical power which is often held responsible for sickness and other day to day problems of villagers many of times. The superstition is deeply rooted and people find it hard to discard any myths associated with witches. Today, we will try to debunk this myth with medical explanations.
Myth: Witches suck blood of other women to harm them which leaves a tooth-mark on waking up from the sleep.
Possible Medical Reasons:
These are bruises which appear due to bleeding under the skin when small blood vessels tear at the site due to injury. They can be due to:
1. Anemia: This would possibly also explain, why it is significantly common in women compared to men. This phenomenon is common in menstruating females, when they constantly lose blood from the body sometimes enough to cause iron deficiency anemia leading to clotting disturbance and easy bruising. Same is the case with other anemia and clotting disorders. Sites prone to pressure during sleep are more prone for bruising in these cases.
2. Activities during sleep: One may be active during sleep and strike objects near by bed, which gives bruises or you may even be sleepwalking.
3. Other conditions:
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Chronic liver disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Hormonal disorders
- Leukemia and other clotting related disorders
- Medications like aspirin and NSAIDs
What to do if you get them?
Do not search for upper and lower teeth marks and don’t blame witches 🙂 . It necessitates you to seek medical help as there may be a serious underlying medical disorder. You may be tested for Complete Blood Count, Liver Function Tests (LFTs), etc.