Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

December 23, 2018

March 06, 2020

Gastrointestinal Bleeding
Gastrointestinal Bleeding

What is Gastrointestinal bleeding?

Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is a condition wherein there is a loss of blood from anywhere along the entire digestive tract, starting from the mouth to the anal opening. The bleeding can be acute and significant for a short duration or less severe but prolonged for years together.

What are its main associated signs and symptoms?

Gastrointestinal bleeding is broadly classified into upper gastrointestinal bleeding, which presents with symptoms, such as a vomit that is bright red in colour, vomit that looks like ground coffee, dark stools or blood mixed with stools; and lower gastrointestinal bleed with symptoms that include stools that are bright red in colour or bleeding from haemorrhoids associated with pain while passing stools. Signs and symptoms associated with chronic blood loss include fatigue, pale skin, anaemia, heart complications, nutritional deficiencies and collapse. Gastrointestinal bleeding has to be tackled at its earliest, as any blood loss can be life-threatening.

What are the main causes?

The causes of upper gastrointestinal bleed include

A lower gastrointestinal bleed happens mainly from

How is it diagnosed and treated?

A diagnosis is made by obtaining a detailed account of the person’s present and past medical history, thereby understanding the exact nature and pattern of the symptoms. This is followed by a thorough physical examination to look for the signs of bleeding.

Once this is done, a series of tests are ordered depending on the site of bleeding. In cases of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, an endoscopy is performed. This allows the doctor to visualise the upper gastrointestinal tract and look for any ulcers or varices. Similarly, to look for the causes of lower gastrointestinal bleeding, a colonoscopy is ordered. Other tests include a complete blood count, a stool test and an ECG, if required, depending on the age of the person.

Treatment depends on the cause. Medications to shrink blood vessels are administered. For peptic ulcers, proton pump inhibitors are given to reduce the production of stomach acid. Endoscopy also treats bleeding effectively by applying certain clips or bands to ligate the blood vessels. Supportive treatment includes blood transfusion, especially for significant blood loss. Haemorrhoids and rectal varices can be treated with surgery.


  1. McQuaid, Laine L. Systematic review and meta-analysis of adverse events of low-dose aspirin and clopidogrel in randomized controlled trials.. Am J Med. 2006 Aug;119(8):624-38. PMID: 16887404
  2. Das A, Wong. Prediction of outcome of acute GI hemorrhage: a review of risk scores and predictive models.. Gastrointest Endosc. 2004 Jul;60(1):85-93. PMID: 15229431
  3. Barkun et al. International consensus recommendations on the management of patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal bleeding.. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Jan 19;152(2):101-13. PMID: 20083829
  4. Rockall, Logan, Devlin, Northfield. Risk assessment after acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage.. Gut. 1996 Mar;38(3):316-21. PMID: 8675081
  5. DiGregorio AM, Alvey H. Gastrointestinal Bleeding. Gastrointestinal Bleeding. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.

Medicines for Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Medicines listed below are available for Gastrointestinal Bleeding. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine Name



Showing 1 to 0 of 1 entries