Digestive System

Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Things You Need to Know

By S.I. (staff writer) , published on November 22, 2022

Medicine Telehealth Health stomach bloodloss ulcers

What is Upper GI Bleeding?

Upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage is a condition characterized by excessive bleeding in the upper regions of the digestive tract, such as the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach), the stomach, or the small intestine. This is frequently a medical emergency.


It happens when the lining of these organs is injured by ulcers or tears, or when an artery weakens and bursts. This issue is more common in the elderly and those who have additional medical conditions, such as liver disease or blood clotting abnormalities [1].


What are the Symptoms of Upper GI bleeding?

The type of symptoms a person may encounter is influenced by the location of a GI bleed and the volume of blood loss.

The symptoms of a GI bleed can include:


  1. unusually pale skin
  2. weakness
  3. feeling faint, dizzy, or tired
  4. vomit that is bright red or resembles coffee grounds
  5. stomach cramps
  6. black, tarry stool
  7. People can also experience occult bleeding, which occurs when there is blood in the stool that is not visible. Doctors can detect this blood using a stool test.


What are the causes of Upper GI bleeding?

Upper GI bleeding has several causes, including:

1.      Ulcers of the stomach:

Peptic ulcers are a common source of gastrointestinal bleeding. These ulcers are open sores that form in the stomach or duodenal lining. Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) may raise your risk of peptic ulcers. If you take blood thinners, you may be at a higher risk. Peptic ulcers can also be caused by an H. pylori infection [2].

2.      Tears in your esophageal veins:

As a result of a disorder known as esophageal varices, enlarged veins in your esophagus can rip and bleed. If you have portal hypertension, which is commonly caused by cirrhosis, and severe scarring of the liver, you may be at a higher risk for this illness.

3.      Tears in your esophageal walls:

This is known as Mallory-Weiss syndrome. Severe or frequent vomiting is a common cause of this illness.

4.      Duodenitis and gastritis:

Gastritis refers to stomach inflammation, whereas duodenitis refers to inflammation of the small intestine. Both are frequently caused by an infection caused by H. pylori bacteria. Although they can also be caused by other factors such as excessive use of NSAIDs or alcohol [3].

5.      Ingestion of a foreign body:

Swallowing anything inedible can result in upper GI tract rips and hemorrhage.

6.      Upper gastrointestinal tumors:

Tumors, such as those caused by esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and small intestine cancer, can result in bleeding. Depending on their location, pancreatic tumours can occasionally induce GI bleeding [4].


  1. Angiodysplasia:

Angiodysplasia is characterized by increased blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract.



What is the Treatment for Upper GI bleeding?

The most critical measures in treatment are to stabilize patients suffering from substantial blood loss and to locate and stop the bleeding as‌ quickly as possible. Blood transfusions, fluids, and medications are frequently administered via a drip (intravenously) to manage blood pressure and replace lost blood.


Endoscopic procedures are frequently used to halt bleeding. If it does not work, surgery may be required. After the person is medically stable, treatment of the underlying ailment is required [5].




  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1358290/
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00365521.2014.946080
  3. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/197267
  4. https://www.giejournal.org/article/S0016-5107(10)01841-9/fulltext
  5. https://duportal.in/download/298690-managing-acute-upper-gi-bleeding-preventing-recurrences-pdf



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