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Are You Bleeding in Your Digestive Tract? Here’s What You Need to Know

image of esophageal varicesIf you’re having problems bleeding from your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, there might be several different reasons. Some people may have bleeding from hemorrhoids, and other people may be bleeding from the upper GI tract. This type of bleeding can be fatal if left untreated. Emergency treatment should be sought immediately if there is bleeding from this region. Here are some other tips and information you may need to know about gastrointestinal tract bleeding from GI North.

1. GI Tract Bleeding is Not a Disease

The bleeding from the GI tract is a symptom of a disease. Some of these conditions can be cured, and others cannot be cured, but all conditions should be addressed by a physician to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan.

2. Diagnosis Will Depend on Where in the GI Tract the Bleeding Originates

The GI tract consists of the esophagus, the small intestine, the stomach, the rectum, the anus, and the large intestine or colon. For instance, the most common cause of bleeding in the esophagus occurs when it becomes inflamed due to stomach acid backing up into the esophagus. Bleeding may also occur from the varices, which are the enlarged veins located near the lower end of the esophagus. A tear in the esophagus may also lead to bleeding after prolonged vomiting.

Ulcers in the stomach may also cause bleeding if they erode a blood vessel. Other common causes of bleeding may be gastritis, cancer, and a duodenal ulcer in the small intestine. Hemorrhoids may cause bleeding in the lower digestive tract. This happens when the veins become enlarged in the anal area. When they rupture and bleed, it’s time to visit a physician. Diagnostics may include an upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, anoscopy, biopsies, and barium X-rays.

3. Be Aware of Symptoms of GI Tract Bleeding

Symptoms of GI tract bleeding usually fall into two categories: acute or chronic. Acute bleeding is brief and usually severe. Chronic bleeding occurs over a long duration of time.

Some of the most common symptoms include dark clots or material in vomit that resembles coffee grounds. A person’s stool may also be black or tar-like in appearance. Some people may also experience: weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, cramping or abdominal pain, reduced urine flow, diarrhea, faintness, confusion, sleepiness, lethargy, faintness, or chest pains.

What to Do About Bleeding in the Intestinal Tract

Talk to Dr. Cofrancesco and he will devise a plan to minimize the symptoms and stop the bleeding. When your symptoms subside, you’ll be able to continue with daily activities as usual. Contact GI North for more information.

© 2013 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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