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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Medical Symptoms > Gastrointestinal Bleeding
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Alternate Names : GI Bleeding, Bleeding in the Gut, Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Gastointestinal (GI) bleeding describes any blood loss that occurs through the digestive tract.

What is going on in the body?

The GI or digestive tract is a passage that leads from the mouth to the anus. This tract also includes the:

  • esophagus, a tube that connects the mouth to the stomach
  • stomach
  • intestines
  • Bleeding can occur anywhere in the GI tract due to various conditions.

    What are the causes and risks of the condition?

    There are many possible causes of this condition, including:

  • peptic ulcer, which may occur in the stomach or small intestine
  • gastritis, or inflammation of the lining of the stomach. This often occurs in those who have been using aspirin or pain medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Gastritis is also common in a person who is alcohol dependent.
  • enlarged veins in the esophagus called esophageal varices, which are prone to rupturing. This condition is usually seen as a part of alcoholic liver disease.
  • a Mallory-Weiss tear, which is a small tear in the inside lining of the esophagus, usually due to severe retching or vomiting
  • diverticulosis, a condition that causes outpouchings of the walls of the colon
  • infections in the gut, such as certain forms of infection-related diarrhea, or diverticulitis, an infection of the outpouchings that occur in diverticulosis
  • cancers or tumors, such as colon cancer, stomach cancer, or esophageal cancer
  • inflammatory bowel disease, a poorly understood condition that results in inflammation in the bowels
  • hemorrhoids, which are enlarged veins around the anus
  • abnormal blood vessels in the digestive tract, which may rupture
  • inflammation of the colon from a lack of blood flow, or from radiation therapy
  • Other causes are also possible. Sometimes, no cause can be found.


    Next section


    Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 08/07/01

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