Gastrointestinal bleeding is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. If you notice blood in your stool or vomit, it’s imperative that you consult a doctor and get to the bottom of the problem. While the condition can be minor and easily treatable, intestinal bleeding can also be caused by a major problem that can lead to death if left untreated. Below, we take a closer look at some of the causes of intestinal bleeding, and we explain how a gastrointestinal surgeon can help identify and correct the problem.
Causes of Intestinal Bleeding
Gastrointestinal bleeding that leads to blood in the stool or vomit can be caused by a bleed in the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract. Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of GI bleeds based on location.
Upper GI bleeding is commonly caused by:
- Peptic ulcers
- Esophageal tears
- Esophageal varices (enlarged veins in the esophagus)
- Esophagitis (Chronic esophageal inflammation oftentimes caused by acid reflux)
Lower GI bleeding is commonly caused by:
- Diverticulitis (inflammation or infection of digestive tract pouches)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Colon Polyps
- Anal fissures
- Rectal inflammation
Diagnosing And Treating Gastrointestinal Bleeding
If you are dealing with black or bloody stools, or there is blood in your vomit, set up an appointment with a GI specialist as soon as possible, or head to an emergency department. They’ll begin by asking about your symptoms and reviewing your medical history. From there, they’ll likely conduct a few tests to help determine what is wrong. Those tests may include one or more of the following:
- Blood tests
- Stool tests
- CT Scan
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Once the issue has been identified, your specialist will walk you through your treatment options. How they will go about treating the condition will depend on the root cause. For example, a peptic ulcer can sometimes be treated during the endoscopy, while rectal issues can sometimes be taken care of during a colonoscopy. Esophageal bleeding can sometimes be treated with medications to address acid reflux or other problems. Other times, a surgical procedure is needed to remove a tumor or address a specific site. Whatever type of treatment you’ll need, we’re confident that we can provide you with the right care to put the problem in the past.
Treatment may also involve other lifestyle adjustments, like a healthier diet, increased exercise or stopping alcohol consumption or smoking. These adjustments combined with the hands-on care you’ll receive from your gastrointestinal surgeon can help treat the problem and keep it from returning.
So if you suspect that you are dealing with intestinal bleeding, don’t delay seeking treatment, because doing so can have serious consequences for your health. Instead, connect with an experienced gastrointestinal surgeon who will help put an end to your GI bleeding. For more information or for help with your issue, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and the team at Bhatti GI Consultants today.