Gastrointestinal Bleeding Quick Overview
- Gastrointestinal (GI)
bleeding is when bleeding occurs in any part of the
gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract includes your esophagus, stomach, small
intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, and
anus. GI bleeding itself is not
a disease, but a symptom of any number of conditions.
- The causes of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding are classified into upper or
lower, depending on their location in the GI tract.
- Causes of upper GI bleeding include
- esophageal varices,
- cancers, and
- inflammation of the GI lining from ingested materials.
- The most common causes of lower GI bleeding include
- Symptoms of GI bleeding often first appear as blood in the vomit or stool, or
black, tarry stools.
The person also may experience
abdominal pain. Symptoms associated
with the blood loss include
- pale skin, and
- shortness of
- GI bleeding can be diagnosed by a digital rectal exam, an
colonoscopy, and lab tests.
- Treatment for GI bleeding usually includes hospitalization because blood
pressure may drop and heart rate may increase and this needs to be stabilized.
In some cases IV fluids or blood transfusions are needed, and surgery may be
- The prognosis for a person with GI bleeding depends upon the cause and
location of the bleeding, how bad the bleed is when the person sees the doctor,
and any underlying medical conditions that may affect the patient's recovery.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/31/2015
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