What is the Esophagus?
Vomiting of blood can be a serious condition and usually one needs immediate medical attention. The causes could be from simple to complicated ones and a physician's judgment is needed to discern this. The causes range from problems of the esophagus like ulcers, erosion or a tear called Mallory-Weiss tear. Stomach problems like gastritis or inflammation of stomach lining, stomach ulcer, hemorrhagic gastritis or erosive (shallow ulcers) gastritis can also cause vomiting of blood. Problems of duodenum (very upper part of small intestine) like ulcers, erosions, inflammation can also give rise to vomiting of blood. At times, small blood vessels called angiodysplasia or angiectasias can also cause vomiting of blood.
Although vomiting of blood is a dramatic situation, more often, many patients bleed small amounts at a time and do not see any blood either in vomitus or in stool but it is significant enough to make them anemic (low blood).
Cancer of all of above organs is another cause of vomiting blood. Generally, it has other associated symptoms such as abdominal pain or weight loss. In patients who have known or unknown liver disease like cirrhosis, large blood vessels called varices may rupture causing dramatic and severe life threatening bleeding.
At Your GI Center, your physicians are highly trained in managing these conditions. Once you present with any of these conditions, after initial evaluation and assessment, Dr. Meah or his associates will devise a treatment plan for you. Generally, it will include a diagnostic and therapeutic EGD or Upper GI Endoscopy. This means that our physicians will not only diagnose your condition, but they will also do biopsies if needed. In most circumstances, they will be able to stop the bleeding by various measures during the same endoscopy session. Usually you will be able to avoid major surgery or blood transfusions by this timely action. "Over the years, I have performed thousands of EGDs and stopping the bleeding in a patient who is bleeding internally is one of the most gratifying and satisfactory experiences for a gastroenterologist" states Dr. Meah.