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Gastrointestinal Bleeding (cont.)

What is the treatment for gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding?

  • There is no home care for heavy gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • Hemorrhoids or anal fissures may be treated with a diet high in fiber, fluids to keep stools soft may be helpful, and stool softeners if necessary.
  • Serious gastrointestinal bleeding can destabilize the vital signs of a patient. The patient's blood pressure may fall sharply, and his or her heart rate may increase.
  • The doctor may need to resuscitate the patient with IV fluids and possibly a blood transfusion.
  • In some cases, the patient may need surgery.
  • For an upper GI bleed, such as bleeding from the stomach, patients may be given IV proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole (Prilosec) to suppress acid.
  • If a large amount of blood is in the upper GI tract, patients may be given prokinetics (medications that help stomach emptying) such as erythromycin or metoclopramide (Reglan) to help clear the stomach of blood, clots, or food residue before an endoscopy procedure to clear the stomach.
  • Other medications may include somatostatin or octreotide (Sandostatin) if there is treatment of variceal (small blood vessel) bleeding, or antibiotics in patients with cirrhosis of the liver.
  • A person should go to a hospital's emergency department if they have heavy gastrointestinal bleeding.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/17/2016
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