What is vomiting blood?

Vomiting blood indicates the presence of bleeding in the digestive tract. The bleeding comes from the upper part of the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and part of the small intestine.

Vomiting blood may be caused by many different conditions, and the severity varies among individuals. The material vomited may be bright red or it may be dark colored like coffee grounds. The most common causes of vomiting blood are inflammation and infections, such as the stomach inflammation called gastritis. Other conditions that can cause vomiting blood include bleeding ulcers, inflammation of the esophagus, cancers, or ruptured blood vessels or tears in the esophagus.

The frequency of vomiting blood and the amount of blood vary greatly, depending on the source of the bleeding. People who have severe bleeding may see a large amount of blood after vomiting. If the blood loss continues, it can result in symptoms including lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, or difficulty breathing.

People with severe vomiting of blood commonly require emergency hospitalization and treatment, which may include blood transfusions.

Left untreated, vomiting 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 severe difficulty breathing, which may be combined with pale or blue lips, fast heart rate, and chest pain or pressure.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with vomiting blood?

Vomiting blood may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the digestive tract may also involve other body systems.... Read more about vomiting bloodsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes vomiting blood?

Vomiting blood can result from many different conditions. Common causes of gastrointestinal bleeding include inflammation, infection, and underlying disease processes such as malignancy.... Read more about vomiting 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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