The symptoms of bleeding of the digestive tract include blood in stool, black stool, and vomiting blood. You should see your doctor for a proper evaluation if you have bleeding of the digestive tract, even if you feel alright. Quite often, a referral to a gastroenterologist is needed.
There are many causes of bleeding of the digestive tract. It can be divided generally into bleeding from the upper digestive tract and from the lower digestive tract. Bleeding from the upper digestive tract cause black stool. The person may also vomit fresh blood (this is called hemetemesis). Bleeding from the lower digestive tract will manifest as fresh blood from the anus. Sometimes this is mixed with stool.
Bleeding of the upper digestive tract can be a result of diseases such as:
- Stomach and duodenum ulcer
- Abnormal, enlarge vessel in the esophagus or stomach due to liver hardening (called varices)
- Reflux esophagitis
- Tear of the esophagus from severe retching and vomiting
- Abnormal blood vessels in the stomach
- Cancer of the esophagus or stomach
- Bleeding from the bile ducts
Bleeding of the lower digestive tract can be a result of diseases such as:
- Piles or hemorrhoids
- Cancer of the colon
- Large colonic polyps
- Abnormal blood vessels of the colon
- Inflammation of the colon from infection or inflammatory bowel disease
What to do if you have severe bleeding digestive tract?
Severe bleeding will result in low blood pressure and the person will experience giddiness. The heart rate will also go up and the person may feel that his or her heart is beating very quickly.
If you have severe bleeding of the digestive tract, you should head immediately to the emergency department of the hospital. Call an ambulance if necessary.
Going to the clinic will generally not be helpful because there is very little that the doctor can do at the clinic.
Do not eat anything because the endoscopy examination requires fasting for about 6 hours.
Be prepared to stay at the hospital for about 1-3 days, depending on the severity of the bleed.
- digestive illnesses