Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal Bleeding


Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is a serious symptom that something is wrong in the digestive tract. It could be anywhere from the inside of the mouth to the anus. The amount of bleeding can also vary from minor to fatal. You can usually tell you have experienced gastrointestinal bleeding by the presence of blood in your vomit or stools.

Signs and symptoms

Gastrointestinal bleeding usually presents as blood in the stool or vomit, but sometimes, the blood could also be a black tarry substance. If it is serious, it is usually accompanied by weakness, dizziness, clammy and pale skin and shortness of breath.

Causes and risk factors

Gastrointestinal bleeding can occur in the upper or lower digestive tract and due to a large variety of causes. It could occur due to peptic ulcers, varices, esophagitis, diverticulitis or haemorrhoids.


Severe gastrointestinal bleeding could cause shock, anaemia or even death.


The diagnosis for gastrointestinal bleeding is done based on a series of blood tests, stool tests, an endoscopy, an upper gastrointestinal lavage, computed tomography abdominal scan and possibly a flexible sigmoidoscopy.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

Often GI bleeding stops on its own. However, if it doesn’t, the cause of the bleeding must be identified and then treated accordingly. Usually, a proton pump inhibitor is prescribed to suppress stomach acid production. If the bleeding is very severe, the patient may also require a blood transfusion and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or Aspirin.


To help prevent GI bleeding, limit the use of cigarettes, alcohol and NSAIDs. If you have pre-existing GERD, make sure to keep that under control.


Endoscopy Guidelines

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