Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding (GI bleed), also known as gastrointestinal hemorrhage, is all forms of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the rectum. When there is significant blood loss over a short time, symptoms may include vomiting red blood, vomiting black blood, bloody stool, or black stool.

Bleeding is typically divided into two main types: upper gastrointestinal bleeding and lower gastrointestinal bleeding. Causes of upper GI bleeds include: peptic ulcer disease, esophageal varices due to liver cirrhosis and cancer, among others. Causes of lower GI bleeds include: hemorrhoids, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease among others.

Possible causes of GI bleeding:

  • Angiodysplasia: Angiodysplasia is when you have abnormal or enlarged blood vessels in your GI tract. These blood vessels can become fragile and bleed.
  • Benign tumors and cancer: Benign tumors  and cancer  in the esophagus, stomach, colon, or rectum may cause bleeding when they weaken the lining of the GI tract. A benign tumor is an abnormal tissue growth that is not cancerous.
  • Colitis: Ulcers in the large intestine are a complication of colitis. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause GI bleeding.
  • Colon polyps: Colon polyps can cause GI bleeding. You can have more than one colon polyp at a time. Some types of polyps may be cancerous or can become cancerous.
  • Diverticular disease: Diverticular disease can cause GI bleeding when small pouches, or sacs, form and push outward through weak spots in your colon wall.
  • Esophageal varices: Esophageal varices can cause GI bleeding. Esophageal varices are usually related to a chronic liver condition called cirrhosis.
  • Esophagitis: The most common cause of esophagitis is gastro esophageal reflux (GER). GER happens when your lower esophageal sphincter is weak or relaxes when it should not. Stomach acid can damage your esophagus and cause sores and bleeding.
  • Gastritis: the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, infections, Crohn’s disease, serious illnesses, serious illnesses. If untreated, gastritis can lead to ulcers or worn-away areas of the stomach lining that can bleed in your GI tract.

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