Weight Loss with Increased Fullness.
Welcome ActiLean Visitor to Health Education on the Internet

Upper GI Bleeding

 What is upper GI bleeding?
 What is the cause?
 What are the symptoms?
 How is it diagnosed?
 How is it treated?
 How can I take care of myself?
 How can I help prevent GI bleeding?

Digestive System: Illustration
Digestive System: IllustrationClick here to view a full size picture.

What is upper GI bleeding?

Upper GI bleeding is bleeding from the esophagus (the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach), the stomach, or the first part of the small intestine. Bleeding from any of these areas may cause blood in the vomit or black, sticky bowel movements.

What is the cause?

Common causes of upper GI bleeding are:

Sometimes the esophagus bleeds because it is torn after forceful coughing or vomiting.

Rarely, cancer of the stomach or esophagus may cause vomiting of blood.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms depend on the cause of the bleeding and may include:

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. Tests may include:

You may need other tests, depending on how severe the bleeding is.

How is it treated?

The treatment for upper GI bleeding depends on its cause, your symptoms, your overall health, and any complications you may have. The goals are to stop the bleeding and to find and treat the cause of the bleeding.

If the bleeding is mild (occasional or small amount), your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to:

If the bleeding is severe, you will be treated in the emergency room and hospital. A tube may be passed through your nose or mouth down into your stomach. The tube may be used to give fluids or medicine. Your provider can also use the tube to get samples of stomach fluids to see if the bleeding has stopped.

If you have lost a lot of blood, you may need a blood transfusion.

If you have severe bleeding in your esophagus that cannot be stopped, you may have procedure called a balloon tamponade. A tube with a balloon at the end is put into your esophagus where the bleeding is. The balloon is filled with air and the pressure of the filled balloon stops the bleeding.

In rare cases you may need surgery to treat the bleeding.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition:

Ask your healthcare provider:

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

How can I help prevent GI bleeding?

Tell your healthcare provider if you often have stomach pain, heartburn, or acid indigestion.

Make sure to talk to your provider if you take NSAIDs daily. Do not take NSAIDs at higher doses or for longer than recommended.

If you drink a lot of alcohol, you are at high risk for liver disease and problems with your esophagus and stomach. Get help for your drinking. There are many places where you can get help, such as clinics, Alcoholics Anonymous, and support groups. Your healthcare provider can also help you find resources to quit drinking and to recover from problems caused by alcohol.

healthinformatics info

Reference Sources:

Schneider, J. and Yachimski, P. (2012) Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding. Elsevior Clinical Key. Accessed 08/15/14 from https://www.clinicalkey.com/#!/ContentPlayerCtrl/doPlayContent/21-s2.0-2011117/{"scope":"all","query":"upper GI bleeding".

McPhee, S. Papadakis,M. 2011 Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment. Acute Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding, p. 556-559. McGraw Hill Medical. 2011.

divider line

Last Modified: 2015-03-01

Last Reviewed: 2014-08-15

Website Updated: May 2016

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Copyright ©1986-2016 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

divider line

Return to:

A button for the link to the top level index page for this topic area.

A button for the link to the top level home page.

Legal Notice: Use of these Health Education Materials signifies your agreement to the enclosed ("linked") terms. If you do not agree to all of these terms and conditions of use, do not use this site.

COPYRIGHT © 1996-2010 and patented technologies ((U.S. patents 6,374,274, 6,839,881, and pending patents) ) HEALTH INFORMATICS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
All Rights Reserved.