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Home > Blog > Blood in Vomit (Hematemesis)- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Blood in Vomit (Hematemesis)- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Blood in Vomit (Hematemesis)- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Max Lab

Nov 06, 2022

Blood in vomit, also known as hematemesis, can be a frightening sight. If you see blood in your vomit, it's important to seek medical attention right away. While blood in vomit can be alarming, it's not always an indicator of a serious health problem. In some cases, blood in vomit can be caused by something as simple as swallowing blood from a nosebleed. However, blood in vomit can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as ulcers or gastrointestinal bleeding. If you have any other symptoms along with the vomiting, such as abdominal pain or shortness of breath, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. If you're unsure whether or not your case is serious, it's always best to err on the side of caution and seek medical help.

What is Blood in the Vomit (hematemesis)?

When you vomit, blood may appear in your vomit. This is called hematemesis. Hematemesis is usually caused by bleeding from the upper part of your digestive system, such as your esophagus or stomach.

Bright red to dark brown are all possible color of  blood. If the blood is bright red, it is most likely coming from your esophagus. If the blood is dark brown, it is most likely coming from your stomach.

If you have any other symptoms along with hematemesis, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or dizziness, call a doctor or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Symptoms of Blood in Vomit

Blood in the vomit can indicate a dangerous medical problem. If you are vomiting blood, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

The most common symptom of blood in vomit is hematemesis, which is the vomiting of bright red blood. This usually indicates that the bleeding is coming from the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach or esophagus. If the blood is dark in color, it may be coming from the lower gastrointestinal tract, such as the intestines.

Other symptoms of blood in vomit include:

  • Black stool (melena)
  • Tarry stool (melaena)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Weakness and fatigue

Causes of Blood in Vomit

There are many potential causes of blood in vomit. Sometimes, the blood is coming from the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach or esophagus. Other times, the blood may be coming from elsewhere in the body, such as the nose or lungs.

In some cases, blood in vomit may be due to a simple and benign cause, such as coughing up blood from the lungs. However, other times it can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as gastrointestinal bleeding or a ruptured blood vessel. If you are vomiting up blood, it is important to seek medical attention right away to determine the cause and get appropriate treatment.

  • Bleeding ulcers

An ulcer is a sore or open wound that develops on the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. The most common type of ulcer is a peptic ulcer, which occurs when stomach acid and digestive juices eat away at the lining of the stomach or small intestine.

Ulcers can also develop in other parts of the body, such as the throat, esophagus, or mouth. When an ulcer bleeds, it can cause blood in vomit.

The symptoms of a bleeding ulcer include:

  1. Vomiting blood
  2. Black, tarry stools
  3. Abdominal pain
  4. Weight loss
  5. Loss of appetite

It's critical to schedule an immediate appointment with your doctor if you encounter any of these signs. A bleeding ulcer is a serious condition that can lead to death if not treated promptly.

  • Acute inflammation

Acute inflammation is a short-term response of the body to an injury or infection. The main purpose of acute inflammation is to remove the cause of the injury or infection and to begin the process of healing.

The signs and symptoms of acute inflammation include redness, swelling, warmth, and pain. The redness is caused by increased blood flow to the area of injury or infection. The swelling is caused by fluid accumulation in the tissues. The increased blood flow is what makes you feel heated. And the pain is caused by pressure on nerves and tissue damage.

Acute inflammation can last for a few days or weeks. If the cause of the inflammation is not removed, it can become a chronic condition. Chronic inflammation can last for months or years and can lead to serious health problems.

  • Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed, causing it to stop working properly. This can lead to a number of serious problems, including pain, weight loss, and diabetes.

There are a number of different causes of chronic pancreatitis, but the most common is heavy drinking. Other causes include smoking, certain medications, and certain diseases.

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include abdominal pain that gets worse after eating, weight loss, oily stools, and diabetes. If the condition is severe, you may also experience jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and malnutrition.

Diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis is typically done with an ultrasound or CT scan of the abdomen. Treatment involves treating the underlying cause (if possible) and managing symptoms with painkillers and other medications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove part of the pancreas.

  • Enlarged blood vessels that rupture

Blood in the vomit can indicate a dangerous medical problem. It may be caused by bleeding from the stomach, esophagus, or upper gastrointestinal tract. The blood may be bright red or look like coffee grounds. Vomiting blood is also called hematemesis.

If you're vomiting blood, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. Vomiting blood is a medical emergency and can be life-threatening.

  • Fatty liver disease

The disorder known as fatty liver disease causes an accumulation of fat in the liver. Fatty liver can be caused by many different things, including alcohol abuse, obesity, and certain medications. Fatty liver disease can lead to more serious conditions, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer. If you have fatty liver disease, it is important to see your doctor so that he or she can monitor your condition and recommend treatment options.

  • Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a chronic liver disease that occurs when the liver is damaged and unable to function properly. The damage can be caused by a number of things, includingalcoholism, viral hepatitis, and fatty liver disease. Cirrhosis can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body, including bilirubin, which can cause jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Cirrhosis can also cause ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen) and portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the veins leading to the liver).

If left untreated, cirrhosis is a dangerous illness that can be fatal. Treatment for cirrhosis typically involves lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and eating a healthy diet. In some cases, medication may be necessary to control symptoms or complications.

Vomiting Blood in Kids

When your child vomits, it can be frightening. But if your child is vomiting blood, it's even more concerning. Vomit that contains blood may indicate a dangerous medical problem.

If your child is vomiting blood, it's important to seek medical attention right away. Blood in vomit can indicate a bleed in the GI tract, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.

Your doctor will likely order tests to determine the cause of the bleeding. These may include a CBC test, coagulation tests, and imaging studies such as an upper GI series or endoscopy.

Treatment for a bleed in the GI tract will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, treatment may simply involve letting the bleed resolved on its own. However, more serious bleeds may require surgery or blood transfusions.

If your child is vomiting blood, don't wait to seek medical attention. Blood in vomit can be a sign of a serious condition that requires prompt treatment

Vomiting Blood in Pregnancy

Vomiting blood during pregnancy can be a sign of a serious underlying condition. It's critical to get medical assistance right away if you are pregnant and are throwing up blood. Depending on the cause, treatment for vomiting blood during pregnancy may involve hospitalization and aggressive medical care.

common causes of vomiting blood during pregnancy include:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding: This can be caused by ulcers, Mallory-Weiss tear, or other gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Esophageal varices: This is a condition in which the veins in the esophagus become enlarged and rupture, causing bleeding.
  • Hemorrhagic diseases: These include conditions like dengue fever and chikungunya, which can cause severe bleeding.
  • Cancer: Gastrointestinal cancers can bleed and cause vomiting of blood.

The underlying reason of blood vomiting during pregnancy will determine the best course of treatment. In some cases, such as with hemorrhagic diseases, treatment may involve aggressive supportive care in a hospital setting. With other causes, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, treatment may be more conservative and focus on managing the underlying condition.

Can Vomiting blood Cause Death?

Vomiting blood can indeed be fatal. If the bleeding is severe, it can lead to death by exsanguination (bleeding to death). Even if the bleeding is not that severe, vomiting blood can still be dangerous. It can lead to choking, aspiration (inhaling) of vomit into the lungs, and dehydration.

Diagnosis of Vomiting Blood

The diagnosis of hematemesis begins with a thorough history and physical examination. Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They will also perform a physical exam looking for signs of blood loss such as pale skin, low blood pressure, and a rapid heart rate.

Laboratory tests may also be ordered to help diagnose hematemesis. These tests may include a complete blood count (CBC), clotting studies, stool sample for occult blood test, upper GI series, endoscopy, or angiography. A CBC measures the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells & etc.

Treatment for Vomiting Blood

Vomiting blood is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

The most common cause of vomiting blood is regurgitation of stomach acid or bleeding from the esophagus or stomach. Other causes include:

  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Gastroesophageal varices (enlarged veins in the esophagus or stomach)
  • Mallory-Weiss tear (a tear in the lining of the esophagus or stomach)
  • Esophageal or gastric cancer
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Medications, such as aspirin or blood thinners

Prevention for Vomiting Blood

If you are vomiting blood, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If you have been diagnosed with a condition that may cause vomiting of blood, it is important to follow your treatment plan and take steps to prevent vomiting blood.

If you have an ulcer or another condition that could cause bleeding, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to help prevent vomiting blood. It is important to take this medication as prescribed and to avoid alcohol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as these can irritate the stomach and increase the risk of bleeding.

It is also important to eat a healthy diet and avoid foods that can irritate the stomach, such as spicy foods, citrus fruits, and tomatoes. If you are overweight, losing weight can help reduce the risk of developing an ulcer or other condition that could lead to vomiting blood.

If you have any questions about preventing vomiting blood, or if you are experiencing any other symptoms that concern you, be sure to speak with your doctor.

What to do if you Vomit Blood

It's critical to get medical assistance right away if you vomit blood. Emergency medical treatment may be required if the bleeding is severe.

Your medical history and current symptoms will likely be discussed with your doctor. They will also perform a physical examination. Tests may be needed to determine the cause of the bleeding.

Treatment for vomiting blood depends on the underlying cause. If the bleeding is due to a minor condition, such as an ulcer, treatment may involve taking medication or making lifestyle changes. More serious conditions, such as cancer, may require surgery or other types of treatment.

Is Vomiting Blood Serious?

When you vomit blood, it's called hematemesis. It can be a sign of a very serious medical condition and requires immediate medical attention.

The sight of blood in vomit can be alarming, but it doesn't necessarily mean that there is a life-threatening condition. However, vomiting blood is always a medical emergency that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment.

There are many possible causes of vomiting blood, including:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding: This is the most common cause of vomiting blood. Gastrointestinal bleeding can be caused by ulcers, cancer, or other conditions that damage the lining of the stomach or intestines.
  • Esophageal varices: These are enlarged veins in the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach). Esophageal varices can bleed if they rupture.
  • Mallory-Weiss tear: This is a tear in the lining of the esophagus or stomach that usually occurs after vomiting or coughing up blood.
  • Cancer: tumors in the stomach or esophagus can sometimes bleed and cause vomiting blood.
  • Medications: certain medications (such as aspirin) can irritate the lining of the stomach and cause gastrointestinal bleeding.

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