Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is a symptom of a disorder in your digestive tract. The blood often appears in stool or vomit but isn’t always visible, though it may cause the stool to look black or tarry. The level of bleeding can range from mild to severe and can be life-threatening. Sophisticated imaging technology, when needed, can usually locate the cause of the bleeding. Treatment depends on the source of the bleeding.
Upper GI bleeding
- Peptic ulcer
- Tears in the lining of the tube that connects your throat to your stomach (esophagus).
- Abnormal, enlarged veins in the esophagus (esophageal varices).
Lower GI bleeding
- Diverticular disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Colon polyps
- Anal fissures
- Overt bleeding might show up as:
- Vomiting blood, which might be red or might be dark brown and resemble coffee grounds in texture
- Black, tarry stool
- Rectal bleeding, usually in or with stool
With occult bleeding, you might have:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain