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Symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding: Introduction

The types of symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding and its underlying cause can vary widely. The severity of symptoms can run the gamut from mild to extreme. The presentation of symptoms depends on the cause, the presence of complications and coexisting diseases, the age of the patient, and other factors.

Gastrointestinal bleeding can be microscopic and not visible to the naked eye or may appear bright red to dark red to black in color. Some types of upper gastrointestinal bleeding produce blood in the vomit that is described as having a "coffee ground" appearance.

Blood from gastrointestinal bleeding is often mixed with stool or vomitus, but blood can also flow freely from the rectum without stool. There may also be massive, life-threatening bleeding (hemorrhage) from the throat, such as can occur in esophageal varices.

A small smear of blood may be noticeable on toilet paper after wiping. Stool mixed with blood can appear maroon or black with a tarry consistency. Blood may also be hidden in the stool and not visible to the naked eye. This is called fecal occult blood.

Gastrointestinal bleeding may occur without any other symptoms. Additional symptoms often involve the gastrointestinal system and can include abdominal pain, bloating, gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea, constipation, mucus in the stool, and nausea and vomiting. Depending on the cause of gastrointestinal bleeding, other symptoms may include weakness, hypotension, dizziness, fainting, rapid heart rate (tachycardia), falls, fatigue, weight loss, and poor appetite.

Some causes of gastrointestinal bleeding, such as perforated peptic ulcer or esophageal varices can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications, such as anemia, uncontrolled hemorrhage, and shock. Gastrointestinal bleeding may also be a symptom of colorectal cancer....more about Gastrointestinal bleeding »

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Gastrointestinal bleeding includes the 21 symptoms listed below:

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Gastrointestinal bleeding: Symptom Checkers

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Gastrointestinal bleeding: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

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Gastrointestinal bleeding: Complications

Review medical complications possibly associated with Gastrointestinal bleeding:

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing of medical conditions related to Gastrointestinal bleeding:

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Do I have Gastrointestinal bleeding?

Gastrointestinal bleeding: Medical Mistakes

Gastrointestinal bleeding: Undiagnosed Conditions

Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical tests related to Gastrointestinal bleeding:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Gastrointestinal bleeding?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Gastrointestinal bleeding includes:

Gastrointestinal bleeding: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding:

Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Bleeding in the digestive tract is a symptom of digestive problems rather than a disease itself. Bleeding can occur as the result of a number of different conditions, many of which are not life threatening. Most causes of bleeding are related to conditions that can be cured or controlled, such as hemorrhoids. The cause of bleeding may not be serious, but locating the source of bleeding is important. (Source: excerpt from Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK)

Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK (Excerpt)

Bleeding can sometimes occur without the person noticing it. This type of bleeding is called occult or hidden. Fortunately, simple tests can detect occult blood in the stool. (Source: excerpt from Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK)

Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK (Excerpt)

The signs of bleeding in the digestive tract depend upon the site and severity of bleeding. If blood is coming from the rectum or the lower colon, bright red blood will coat or mix with the stool. The stool may be mixed with darker blood if the bleeding is higher up in the colon or at the far end of the small intestine. When there is bleeding in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum, the stool is usually black or tarry. Vomited material may be bright red or have a coffee-grounds appearance when one is bleeding from those sites. If bleeding is occult, the patient might not notice any changes in stool color.

If sudden massive bleeding occurs, a person may feel weak, dizzy, faint, short of breath, or have crampy abdominal pain or diarrhea. Shock may occur, with a rapid pulse, drop in blood pressure, and difficulty in producing urine. The patient may become very pale. If bleeding is slow and occurs over a long period of time, a gradual onset of fatigue, lethargy, shortness of breath, and pallor from the anemia will result. Anemia is a condition in which the blood's iron-rich substance, hemoglobin, is diminished. (Source: excerpt from Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK)

Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK (Excerpt)

How Do You Recognize Blood in the Stool and Vomit?

  • Bright red blood coating the stool
  • Dark blood mixed with the stool
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Bright red blood in vomit
  • Coffee-grounds appearance of vomit

What Are the Symptoms of Acute Bleeding?

  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Crampy abdominal pain
  • Faintness
  • Diarrhea

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Bleeding?

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lethargy
  • Pallor
(Source: excerpt from Bleeding in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK)

Gastrointestinal bleeding as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions

When considering symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding, it is also important to consider Gastrointestinal bleeding as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Gastrointestinal bleeding may cause:

- (Source - Diseases Database)

Gastrointestinal bleeding as a symptom:

For a more detailed analysis of Gastrointestinal bleeding as a symptom, including causes, drug side effect causes, and drug interaction causes, please see our Symptom Center information for Gastrointestinal bleeding.

Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding. This signs and symptoms information for Gastrointestinal bleeding has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Gastrointestinal bleeding signs or Gastrointestinal bleeding symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Gastrointestinal bleeding symptoms.


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