Gastrointestinal Bleeding Q & A
What is a gastrointestinal bleed?
Gastrointestinal bleeding (GI bleed) is often alarming and uncomfortable. A GI bleed can occur at any point along your digestive tract, from your esophagus to your rectum. Severity of this condition depends on where the bleed is, and to what degree you are bleeding.
A GI bleed can be so mild that it is only picked up with sensitive tests of your stool, or can be life-threatening with massive blood loss coming up from your stomach or passing out of your colon. Severity is often due to the underlying cause of the bleed.
What are the symptoms of a GI bleed?
GI bleeds present in different ways, depending on where the bleeding area may be and how much bleeding has happened. If it is in the upper digestive tract (esophagus, stomach or small intestine), you may have symptoms like:
- Vomiting blood, or vomit with traces of blood
- Vomiting that looks like “coffee grounds”
- Black, tarry stools
- Stool with dark blood
Symptoms of bleeding in the lower digestive tract (large intestine, colon or rectum) may be:
- Stool mixed with dark red or bright red blood
- Stool coated with dark or bright red blood
- Black, tarry stools
What are the causes of a GI bleed?
It is important to know that a GI bleed is not a disease, but rather a symptom of a condition. It is often the first sign of other underlying issues that need to be evaluated and treated immediately.
Some possible underlying causes for a GI bleed may be:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn's disease
- Cancerous tumors
- Esophageal varices
How can a GI bleed be diagnosed and treated?
Dr. Rubin is an expert in the field of gastroenterology, including the testing for and treatment of underlying causes of GI bleeding. Some of these procedures are able to both diagnosis and provide an opportunity for possible treatment of underlying disorders.
- Upper endoscopy
- Double balloon endoscopy
- Video capsule endoscopy
- CT or MRI
If possible, the short-term treatment of a GI bleed is to stop the bleeding by either chemically or mechanically closing up the vessels that are bleeding. In the long-term, Dr. Rubin will help to prevent future GI bleeds, by treating the underlying cause of the bleed.
If you would like to utilize Dr. Rubin’s experience in the diagnosis and treatment of the causes of a GI bleed, call or book your appointment online today.