Lost a lot of blood-how long to get back to normal?

Hey all!
Short version of the story, I lost quite a bit of blood over the past week and had to end up getting stitches and taking some time off the bike. I cannot exactly quantify how much I lost, but I know it would be measurable. How long will it take two rebuild and get back to normal, and what sort of performance decreased can I expect in the meantime?
Longer and gross version of the story is, I had a vascular wart on my thumb that developed into a blood blister with its own blood supply. Over the past week, it began rupturing starting Monday. It was almost impossible to get the bleeding to stop, and I would literally soak several paper towels full to dripping with blood. That happened last Monday, and then twice New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day, I showered and it opened the wound again and would not stop, so I had to go to the ER. I was able to get a bunch of stitches, but even in the ER I was pouring blood. While the doctor was getting ready to stitch it up, blood was literally squirting almost an inch out of my thumb onto the non-absorbent pad. So, I can’t say how much blood I lost, but just on the pad from that ER visit, there was a massive pool of blood. And this happened almost half a dozen times within a week.
And before you go saying I’m dumb, which yes, I know I am, I had an appointment with a dermatologist to get it taken care of for this Monday, but obviously I couldn’t wait since this happened otherwise I would have gone sooner.
So what am I looking at in general as far as recovery and bouncing back to training? I recall one podcast them talking about blood donation, but that’s all I can remember. Anyone have any advice on this?

This topic may be helpful.

Here is a direct link to the original podcast discussion.

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IIRC from a blood donation (which is most likely much more blood than you lost and all at once as opposed to over a week) it can take ~2-3days for plasma volume to return and 4-8weeks for RBC to return to normal.

So as long as this blister thing doesn’t cause any additional recovery stress (like being sick would) then I’d say you should take it easy for maybe 5 days and be back to normal within 2-3 weeks. Obviously monitor your RPE during some easier rides and if it feels way more difficult than you think then talk to a doctor.


Thanks @mcneese.chad I will read it today. @mwglow15 I’m not underestimating the amount I lost over that week lol, but I haven’t even really been doing anything lately. I’m just on the trainer now doing recovery level effort to see how it feels. I have an appointment to get my stitches out and then have it looked at next week, so I will know what the long-term solution is. But I think at least for now it is in a stable holding pattern. Thankfully this happened right before a recovery week, so I can take it easy this week without any issues. I was just concerned that this is going to set me back weeks and weeks of training

you might try filling up a ziploc with a pint of water so you can get a feel for how much that is. It may be easier for you to estimate how much you lost if you have something to compare it to. I think what mwglow15 was referring to is the fact that you lost it over a period of days could be helpful to you in that your blood likely started being replaced throughout rather than at the end of the event.

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In my completely non medical expertise, the body is amazing when it comes to bouncing back from things. I had had one massive blood loss that I knew of, which resulted in a catastrophic iron deficiency. When the docs eventually found out what was causing it (after at least a year of blood iron deficiency), and removed it, my blood iron levels were back to exceeding average in a few days.

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@russell.r.sage I have a little plastic water bottle here that’s 1 pint, and I would easily say I filled up at least half of that. Keep in mind this is in no way accurate since I’m just remembering an estimating based on how soaked paper towels were how fast it was running and how much was squirting out at the ER :sweat_smile: could have been more, but at least half a pint seems safe.
@HLaB that’s one thing I wish that Chad’s link addressed was what can be done to help the recovery process and how your health returns. I have been basically gorging myself on beets, spinach, vitamins, Calcium, and spirulina in hopes of aiding the process, but really I have no idea how that works and it would be interesting to have @chad do a bit more of a deep dive on that :grin: I’m really glad that you got your issues sorted out and came back better than ever. It’s amazing how underlying issues can affect you for so long, but once they are taken care of how quickly you bounce back. I had the same thing though not relating to blood, when I had my tonsils out and my sinuses widened so that I could breathe through them about 10 years ago

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