What is spitting blood?

Spitting up blood indicates the presence of bleeding that may originate in the digestive tract or in the respiratory system. Spitting blood may be caused by many different conditions, and the severity varies among individuals. Spitting blood may accompany vomiting if it is from a gastrointestinal source, or it may occur with coughing if it is from a respiratory source.

Digestive Problems Spotlight

Common gastrointestinal causes of spitting up blood are inflammation and infections, such as the stomach inflammation called gastritis. Conditions of the mouth such as gum disease and tooth extraction may cause spitting blood. Spitting blood that comes up with a cough is commonly associated with lung cancer, bronchitis, and pneumonia. These may cause spitting up of bright red blood, rust-colored mucus, or mucus that contain streaks of blood. Pulmonary edema, congestive heart failure, or a perforated or collapsed lung (pneumothorax) from trauma may be associated with spit-up or coughed-up blood that appears bubbly because it is mixed with air and mucus.

The frequency of spitting blood and the amount of blood produced vary greatly, depending on the source of the bleeding. Symptoms of blood loss include lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, or difficulty breathing. It is rare for spitting blood to be so severe as to lead to serious complications, such as shock. However, people with significant blood loss from severe spitting blood may have serious medical conditions that require emergency hospitalization and treatment.

Left untreated, severe spitting blood can result in a life-threatening loss of blood. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as pale skin or pallor and difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood or black material, or change in level of consciousness.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with spitting blood?

Spitting blood may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.... Read more about spitting bloodsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes spitting blood?

Spitting blood can be the result of any condition of the digestive or respiratory tracts. Common digestive causes of spitting blood include inflammation or infection, internal injuries caused by trauma, and underlying disease processes such as cancers. Respiratory causes of spitting blood include pneumonia, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and trauma.... Read more about spitting bloodcauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System


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