Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Also called: GI bleeding

Your digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine or colon, rectum, and anus. Bleeding can come from any of these areas. The amount of bleeding can be so small that only a lab test can find it.

Signs of bleeding in the digestive tract depend where it is and how much bleeding there is.

Signs of bleeding in the upper digestive tract include

  • Bright red blood in vomit
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Dark blood mixed with stool

Signs of bleeding in the lower digestive tract include

  • Black or tarry stool
  • Dark blood mixed with stool
  • Stool mixed or coated with bright red blood

GI bleeding is not a disease, but a symptom of a disease. There are many possible causes of GI bleeding, including hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, tears or inflammation in the esophagus, diverticulosis and diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, colonic polyps, or cancer in the colon, stomach or esophagus.

The test used most often to look for the cause of GI bleeding is called endoscopy. It uses a flexible instrument inserted through the mouth or rectum to view the inside of the GI tract. A type of endoscopy called colonoscopy looks at the large intestine.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

The following features are indicative of Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
  • vomiting red blood
  • vomiting black blood
  • bloody stool
  • black stool
  • abdominal pain
  • shortness of breath
  • pale skin
  • bleeding
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
It is possible that Gastrointestinal Bleeding shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

The following are the most common causes of Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
  • peptic ulcer disease
  • esophageal varices
  • hemorrhoids
  • cancer
  • inflammatory bowel disease

Risk Factors for Gastrointestinal Bleeding

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
  • males
  • increasing age

Prevention of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Gastrointestinal Bleeding. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • limit the amount of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • avoid smoking
  • avoid alcohol consumption

Occurrence of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Gastrointestinal Bleeding cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Gastrointestinal Bleeding can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Gastrointestinal Bleeding can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
  • Fecal occult blood test: To detect the small amounts of bleeding
  • Endoscopy: To determine the area of bleeding
  • Imaging tests: To know the cause of the GI bleeding

Doctor for Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
  • Gastroenterologist

Complications of Gastrointestinal Bleeding if untreated

Yes, Gastrointestinal Bleeding causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Gastrointestinal Bleeding is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

The following procedures are used to treat Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
  • Surgery: To stop the bleeding

Medicines for Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Below is the list of medicines used for Gastrointestinal Bleeding:

Self-care for Gastrointestinal Bleeding

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks and smoking: Reduces the stomach acids and prevents ulcers

Time for Treatment of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Gastrointestinal Bleeding to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Within 1 week

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

Related Topics

Peptic Ulcer

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