Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

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What is Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)?

Vomiting blood refers to a condition when there are significant amounts of blood in your vomit. Small flecks of blood in material you spit may come from your teeth, mouth, or throat and is not considered as vomiting blood. Blood in vomit may be bright red, black or dark brown like coffee powder. This condition is also known as hematemesis.

Blood from nosebleeds or forceful coughing, can lead to bloody vomit, but blood that actually comes out during vomiting usually signifies a more serious condition and requires immediate medical attention.

Common causes of vomiting blood are bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract (including the mouth, esophagus, abdomen and upper small intestine), peptic ulcers (stomach or duodenum) or tearing of blood vessels.

Contact your health care provider or dial the emergency number if you vomit blood and experience dizziness after standing up, experience a rapid and shallow breath, or other shock symptoms.

Causes of Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

If you experience vomiting blood, it is likely that there is bleeding somewhere in the food pipe, stomach, or your duodenum. Vomiting blood can be caused by:

  • Aspirin.
  • Peptic ulcer.
  • Stomach cancer.
  • Acute liver failure.
  • Esophageal cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Persistent or strong vomiting.
  • Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus).
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach).
  • Benign stomach or esophageal tumors.
  • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
  • Duodenitis (inflammation of the duodenum).
  • Defects of blood vessels in the digestive tract.
  • Portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the portal vein).
  • Gastric varices (enlarged blood vessels in the stomach).
  • Gastric erosion (damage to the tissue lining the stomach).
  • Dieulafoy’s lesion (artery protruding through the abdominal wall).
  • Esophageal varices (enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus).
  • Mallory-Weiss tear (pressure-related tear in the esophagus leading to vomiting or coughing)

In infants and young children, vomiting blood can occur as a result of:

  • Birth defects.
  • Dairy allergy.
  • Swallowed objects.
  • Vitamin K deficiency.
  • Blood clotting disorders.
  • Ingested blood, such as from the nose.

When to See a Doctor for Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

Your internist will make the diagnosis based on your medical history, physical examination, and likely perform radiology procedures, such as CT scans, X-rays, or an endoscopy. Radiology tests can help your doctor determine the source of bleeding. Endoscopy uses binoculars to examine the upper part of the intestine and find out the cause of bleeding.

The possible cause of vomiting blood comes from viruses and bacteria. Your doctor’s diagnosis may involve blood tests and analysis of certain stool samples.

If your doctor suspects bleeding in the arteries, your doctor will perform an angiogram. This procedure is usually done by inserting a tube and a thin wire through a vein in the groin. You will be put under sedatives during the angiogram. 

After injecting iodine dye for more accurate imaging, X-rays will help identify the location of the blockage.

Symptoms of Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

The color and consistency of blood may vary depending on the cause and physical location of the bleeding. Blood color can range from bright red to brown like coffee powder.

Depending on the cause of bleeding, you may experience other symptoms. You should get immediate medical attention if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms that occur at the same time when you experience vomiting blood, such as: 

  • Nausea.
  • Weakness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Blurred vision.
  • Decreased urine output 
  • Pale-looking skin 
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Confused or unable to focus.
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Anxiety, or agitation (restless and irritated).

Seek emergency medical treatment if you experience severe abdominal pain, are vomiting large amounts of blood, experiencing several episodes of vomiting, or other worrying symptoms.

Treatment For Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

Certain treatments and surgeries can be treatment options for vomiting blood. In case of severe vomiting blood, you may need a blood transfusion. In life-threatening cases, emergency resuscitation and fluids or blood replacement may be required 

The treatment options for vomiting blood depends on the cause. Many techniques can be performed to stop internal bleeding by inserting an endoscopic device and closing up the internal wound.

Discuss with your doctor in advance to find out the advantages, disadvantages, and side effects that may arise after treatment.

Treatment Cost for Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

Treatment cost for vomiting blood varies greatly depending on the type of treatment recommended by your doctor and your choice of hospital. 

To calculate the estimated treatment cost for vomiting blood at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.

Prevention of Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

Since vomiting blood can be caused by a serious health condition, failing to seek proper treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Therefore, consult your doctor to help you find the right treatment based on your condition. This is also done to prevent vomiting blood from recurring. 

After your doctor successfully diagnoses the cause of vomiting blood, it is important that you follow the treatment plan as instructed by your doctor. The personalized treatment plan can help reduce the risk of complications, including:

  • Shock.
  • Stomach cancer.
  • Oesophageal cancer.
  • Spread of infection.
  • Spread of cancer.
  • Recurrent bleeding.
  • Side effects of treatment.
  • Need of blood transfusion.
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count).
  • Perforation of the abdominal wall (abdominal wall wounds and holes)

Home Remedies for Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

Vomiting blood is a very serious medical condition. You should seek medical help immediately if you experience this condition. Call an emergency number if you experience vomiting blood along with dizziness, feeling of fainting, or breathing problems.

Your medical team will try to stabilize your low blood pressure, respiratory problems, or other complications due to excessive blood loss. You may need blood transfusions, respiratory assistance, and medications to control your blood pressure or to lower stomach acid levels. You may also need infusion fluids administered through your veins until your doctor suggests that you need a surgery.

Once your condition is stable, the cause of vomiting blood will be addressed with a number of treatments recommended by your doctor.

Follow your doctor’s instructions or advice during your treatment at home. Doing so helps prevent recurrence.  Seek immediate consultation with an internal medicine specialist at home and abroad through Smarter Health for appropriate vomiting blood treatment.

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