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When You Have Gastrointestinal (GI) BleedingCuando usted tiene sangrado gastrointestinal

When You Have Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleeding

Blood in vomit or stool can be a sign of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. GI bleeding can be scary, but the cause of the bleeding is usually not serious. Still, you should ALWAYS see a doctor if GI bleeding occurs.

The GI Tract

The GI tract is the path that food travels through the body. Food passes from the mouth down the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). Food begins to break down in the stomach. It then moves through the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. Nutrients are absorbed as food travels through the small intestine. What is left passes into the colon (large intestine) as waste. The colon removes water from the waste. Waste continues from the colon to the rectum (where stool is stored). Waste then leaves the body through the anus.

Causes of GI Bleeding

GI bleeding can be caused by many different problems. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Ulcer (sore on the lining of the GI tract)

  • Cuts or scrapes in the mouth or throat

  • Infection (bacteria or parasites)

  • Food allergies

  • Medications

  • Inflammation (swelling or irritation of the lining of the GI tract)

  • Polyps (growths of tissue)

  • Abnormal pouches in part of the GI tract

  • Tears in the anus

  • Nosebleed

Diagnosing the Cause of Blood in Stool

If blood is coming out in your stool, it may signal a lower GI tract problem. Bleeding from the lower GI tract can be bright red, or it may look dark and tarry. Occult blood can't be seen with the eye, but can be found in the stool on tests. To determine the cause, tests that may be ordered include:

  • Blood tests

  • Hemoccult test: checks a stool sample for blood

  • Stool culture: checks a stool sample for bacteria or parasites

  • X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan: imaging tests that take pictures of the digestive tract

  • Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy: a test during which a flexible tube with a camera is inserted through the anus into the rectum to view the inside of your colon. This lets the doctor do a biopsy (take a tiny tissue sample).

Diagnosing the Cause of Blood in Vomit

Vomiting blood may signal an upper GI tract problem. To determine the cause, tests that may be ordered include:

  • Endoscopy: a test during which a flexible tube with a camera is inserted through the mouth and throat to see inside the upper GI tract. This lets the doctor do a biopsy (take a tiny tissue sample).

  • X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan: tests that take pictures of the digestive tract

  • Upper GI series: x-rays of the upper part of the GI tract taken from inside the body

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Bleeding from the mouth or anus that can't be stopped

  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher

  • Bleeding accompanied by lighheadedness or dizziness

  • Signs of dehydration (dry, sticky mouth; decreased urine output; very dark urine)

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For top-quality, up-to-date care for gastrointestinal problems, trust the board-certified, experienced GI specialists trusted by thousands of patients and their doctors for nearly 30 years. Call Gastroenterology Consultants at (281) 481-9400 or fill out our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation with us.

Gastroenterology Consultants


444 FM 1959, Suite A,
Houston, TX 77034
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

St. John

2060 Space Park Drive, Suite 306
Nassau Bay, TX 77058
Direct Phone: 281-892-2460

Clear Lake

250 Blossom Street, Suite 210 Webster, TX 77598
Direct Phone: 281-316-1119


4211 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, TX 77504
Direct Phone: 832-456-8434


15015 Kirby Dr. Ste.200A
Pearland, TX 77047
Direct Phone: 713-343-6360

League City

2555 S. Gulf Freeway Ste. 500
League City, TX 77573
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

Gastroenterology Consultants is a leader in advanced, comprehensive gastrointestinal care. We specialize in up-to-date gastrointestinal care, which includes screening and treatment for colon cancer, heartburn and acid reflux, esophageal disorders and difficulty swallowing, peptic ulcers, H. pylori, gallstones and other gallbladder disorders, rectal bleeding and hemorrhoids, malabsorption and celiac disease, liver diseases - hepatitis C, hepatitis B, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, hepatoma and liver cancer, abdominal pain, noncardiac chest pain, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, anemia, nausea and vomiting, gas and bloating and lactose intolerance

Gastroenterology Consultants also offers colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer, EGD & capsule endoscopy small-bowel, endoscopic ultrasound, Bravo 48-hour pH monitoring, H. pylori breath testing, esophageal manometry and impedance testing, hemorrhoid band ligation, esophageal dilatation, advanced therapeutic ERCP, Biologic therapy, treatment of Barrett's esophagus, common bile duct stones and endoscopic mucosal resection.