Vomiting blood: what causes it?

Vomiting blood makes a big impression, but it's not always a sign of something serious. This symptom, whose technical name is hematemesis, is described as the regurgitation of blood, sometimes mixed with the contents that are in the stomach.

In the most severe cases, vomiting blood is a sign of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.. This includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine. However, sometimes the symptom appears because blood was swallowed after a nosebleed or as a result of a violent cough, among others.

Vomiting blood is considered a red flag, particularly when it is very copious. Also, if it is accompanied by dizziness when standing up or difficulty breathing. In these cases, it is assumed as a hospital emergency.

What Causes Hematemesis?

There are many reasons for vomiting blood. In fact, there are times when the blood doesn't actually come from the stomach, but from the teeth, throat, or mouth. Likewise, when blood is swallowed for any reason, it is common for it to regurgitate.

This symptom also appears when foreign objects are swallowed, or as a result of irritation or a tear in the esophagus. This can happen after having a violent cough or chronic vomiting. Other possible causes are as follows:

  • An ulcer in the esophagus, stomach, or first part of the small intestine.
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining, or gastritis.
  • Coagulation disorders.
  • Pancreatitis
  • Aspirin Side Effects or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Cirrhosis or alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Tumors in the mouth, throat, esophagus, or stomach.
  • Cancer of the esophagus or pancreas.

What other symptoms can appear?

Typically, vomiting blood is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, discomfort, and abdominal pain. There may also be simultaneous vomiting of stomach contents.

Sometimes other symptoms appear that are considered indicators of a medical emergency. Among them, the National Library of Medicine of the United States points out the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion.
  • Fainting.
  • Very severe abdominal pain.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Increased heart rate
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Changes in breathing.
  • Vomiting blood after having suffered an injury.

You may also be interested in: Gastric and duodenal ulcers

How is it diagnosed?

Since vomiting blood can appear from many causes, the diagnosis may require multiple tests. Most commonly, a physical examination and a clinical interview begin.

If the doctor considers it appropriate, he will order one or more imaging scans to observe the state of the digestive tract. In this way, tests such as:

  • Endoscopy.
  • Bone scan.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Magnetic resonance.
  • Computed tomography.

As well, it is common to have a blood test, or complete blood countas this helps to establish how much blood has been lost. Based on this, other tests may be ordered. In some cases, a biopsy is done.

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Vomiting blood: what treatments are there?

If the vomiting has been very copious, a blood transfusion may be required and the administration of fluids to rehydrate the body. Both procedures are carried out intravenously.

The most common is that the doctor prescribes some drugs to stop vomiting, decrease stomach acid, or treat an ulcer, if there is one. If a more serious condition is suspected, the case will most likely be referred to a specialist.

In the most severe cases, vomiting blood is a sign of a bleeding ulcer, an injury to the digestive system, or a hole in the stomach or intestine. If this is the case, the treatment to follow, in general, is an emergency surgery.

Recommendations and preventions

A healthy diet helps prevent problems such as the appearance of ulcers that can lead to vomiting blood.

The best way to avoid an episode of vomiting blood is by taking care of gastrointestinal health.. This is achieved with a proper diet and healthy habits. There are foods that increase heartburn and create a higher risk of gastritis and other problems.

Among the foods that should be consumed in moderation are spicy. Also, anything that contains caffeine, including decaffeinated coffee and chocolate. On the other hand, it is good to limit the ingestion of red meat, animal fats and white flour products.

Alcohol is one of the substances with the greatest potential to irritate the digestive tract. Long-term and excessive consumption can cause serious damage to the stomach and intestines. Tobacco is also an irritant, as well as aspirin and ibuprofen, among others.

Take care of general health to prevent vomiting with blood

Stress is another factor that can affect good digestive health. The most convenient thing is to look for mechanisms to control it. One of the best ways to do this is through regular exercise; This protects physical and mental health.

It is important to apply good hygiene with food to avoid becoming infected with bacteria, viruses and parasites. You need to eat slowly, chew your food well, and keep your mind calm. The consumption of probiotics is more than advisable.

In conclusion, to maintain good digestive health, it is essential to take care of general health by eating a balanced and healthy diet, doing regular physical exercise and avoiding substances that can cause long-term damage.