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Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal Bleeding Overview

The causes of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding are classified into upper or lower, depending on their location in the GI tract.

Upper gastrointestinal bleeding: Upper GI bleeding originates in the first part of the GI tract-the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (first part of the small intestine). Most often, upper GI bleeding is caused by one of the following:

  • Peptic ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Esophageal varices
  • Mallory-Weiss tears
  • Gastrointestinal cancers
  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal lining from ingested materials

Lower gastrointestinal bleeding: Lower GI bleeding originates in the portions of the GI tract further down the digestive system-such as parts of the small intestine beyond the duodenum, large intestine, rectum, and anus. The most common causes of lower GI bleeding include:

  • Diverticular disease
  • Gastrointestinal cancers
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Angiodysplasia
  • Polyps
  • Hemorrhoids and anal fissures
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Gastrointestinal Bleeding - Causes

What was the cause of your gastrointestinal bleeding?





Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding »

Acute gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is a potentially life-threatening abdominal emergency that remains a common cause of hospitalization.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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