Gastrointestinal Bleeding (cont.)
Gastrointestinal Bleeding Causes
The causes of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding are classified into upper or lower, depending on their location in the GI tract. Because GI bleeding is a symptom of many conditions, these conditions are all risk factors for getting a GI bleed.
What are causes of upper GI bleeding?
Peptic ulcer disease: Peptic ulcers are localized erosions of the mucosal lining of the digestive tract. Ulcers usually occur in the stomach or duodenum. Breakdown of the mucosal lining results in damage to blood vessels, causing bleeding.
Gastritis: General inflammation of the stomach lining, which can result in bleeding. Gastritis also results from an inability of the gastric lining to protect itself from the acid it produces.
Causes of gastritis include
- NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example,
(Aleve, Advil, Excedrin, Children's Advil, Children's Motrin, Midol,
Esophageal varices: Swelling of the veins of the esophagus or stomach usually resulting from
liver disease. Varices most commonly occur in alcoholic liver cirrhosis. When varices bleed, the bleeding can be massive, catastrophic and occur without warning.
Mallory-Weiss tear: A tear in the esophageal or stomach lining, often as a result of vomiting or retching. Mucosal tears also can occur after
seizures, forceful coughing or laughing, lifting, straining, or childbirth. Physicians often find tears in people who have recently binged on alcohol.
Cancer: One of the earliest signs of
stomach cancers may be blood in the vomit or stool.
Inflammation: When the mucous membranes break down, they are unable to counteract the harsh effects of stomach acid.
NSAIDs, aspirin, alcohol, and
cigarette smoking promote gastric ulcer formation. Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that also promotes formation of ulcers.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/31/2015
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