Lauren A Poliakin MD, FACS, DABOM


2750 Sycamore Drive, Ste 210
 Simi Valley, CA 93065

HCA Healthcare Magazine


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Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum and anus, is a symptom of many different diseases, some of which may be life-threatening. Many cases of gastrointestinal bleeding are a result of ulcers or hemorrhoids, which can be treated, but still require prompt treatment.

Causes of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding can be caused by a number of different conditions, which may include the following:

  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  • Esophageal varices
  • Esophageal tears
  • Ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Gastritis
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diverticulitis
  • Cancer

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Depending on the location and severity of the gastrointestinal bleeding, some people may be unaware of their condition, while others may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Stool that is either dark or bright red
  • Vomit that is bloody or granular
  • Dizziness
  • Faintness
  • Diarrhea
  • Paleness
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal cramping

Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

It is important to locate the site of the bleeding in order to properly diagnose and treat the condition. Diagnosis of gastrointestinal tract bleeding is accomplished after a thorough medical examination and some of the following tests:

  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
  • Colonoscopy
  • Enteroscopy
  • Barium X-ray
  • Angiography
  • Laparotomy

Treatment of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Treatment for gastrointestinal tract bleeding depends on the underlying cause and whether the condition is acute or chronic. Treatment options can range from simple lifestyle changes, to medication, to tumor resection. Chemicals may be injected during a diagnostic endoscopy to help control the bleeding before further action is taken.

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