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General Practice 2023

Blood vomiting: what it can be (and what to do)

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Blood vomiting: what it can be (and what to do)
Blood vomiting: what it can be (and what to do)

Vomiting blood or having some blood in your vomit is a condition scientifically known as hematemesis. Vomiting with blood is usually related to changes in the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the stomach, esophagus, or initial portion of the intestine.

Blood may be present in small or large amounts and should always be reported to the doctor as it may indicate serious conditions that require immediate treatment.

The diagnosis of hematemesis is made through an endoscopy, in which the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract is evaluated and the treatment is indicated by a gastroenterologist or general practitioner and aims to solve the cause of vomiting with blood, being different for each case.

Blood vomiting can be the result of several conditions such as:

1. Esophageal varices

Esophageal varices are dilated blood vessels in the esophagus that may arise due to obstruction of the circulation of the hepatic portal system, which corresponds to the system responsible for draining blood from the abdominal organs. Thus, in the presence of obstruction in this system, there is an increase in pressure in the veins of the esophagus, resulting in bleeding that can be perceived through vomiting with blood, dark and very smelly stools, called melena, pallor and dizziness.

What to do: if varicose veins are suspected and the person is vomiting blood it is very important to go to the emergency room quickly to stop the bleeding. When the person is already diagnosed with varicose veins, the most recommended thing is to follow up with a gastroenterologist, so that treatment can be started with the aim of improving the cause of varicose veins and preventing bleeding.For this, the use of beta-blocker drugs is usually recommended, in addition to surgery. Understand how treatment for esophageal varices should be.

2. Gastritis

Gastritis corresponds to inflammation of the stomach, which can result in the destruction of the gastric mucosa when not identified or treated correctly. Thus, as the mucosa is destroyed, ulcers can develop, which can bleed over time and lead to vomiting with blood and dark stools. In addition, the person may experience other symptoms of gastritis, such as abdominal discomfort, a burning sensation in the stomach, and nausea.

What to do: The best thing to do is to go to the gastroenterologist for tests to be carried out to identify the degree of stomach inflammation and, thus, the treatment can be done correctly. Normally, the use of medications that protect the stomach is indicated to prevent the progression of inflammation, as these medications create a barrier that prevents the action of gastric acid on the stomach wall, favoring tissue recovery and relieving symptoms.

In addition, it is important that there is a change in eating habits in an attempt to reduce stomach inflammation, and it is recommended to avoid the consumption of spicy foods, sauces, fats, alcoholic beverages and sausages, for example.

3. Esophagitis

Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus, which is the structure that connects the mouth to the stomach, and is most often caused by infections, gastritis and reflux. In this way, due to the excessive acidity in the esophagus, its inflammation occurs, which leads to the appearance of some symptoms such as heartburn, bitter taste in the mouth, sore throat and vomiting with blood.

What to do: It is important that the cause of esophagitis is identified so that the most appropriate treatment can be initiated. Most of the time, the general practitioner or gastroenterologist recommends the use of drugs that reduce stomach acidity, such as Omeprazole, in addition to changes in eating habits until the esophagitis is healed and there is no longer any risk of inflammation.Learn how to identify esophagitis and how to treat it.

4. Gastric ulcers

The presence of ulcers in the stomach is, in most cases, a consequence of chronic gastritis, because when gastritis is not identified and treated, the gastric mucosa is constantly irritated by the acid produced in the stomach, favoring the appearance of ulcers.

Stomach ulcers can be noticed through stomach pain between meals or at night, which does not go away even with the use of medication to facilitate digestion, in addition to nausea and vomiting, which may be accompanied by blood. Know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of gastric ulcer.

What to do: As with gastritis and esophagitis, it is recommended to use stomach protective medications, which should be used as recommended by the doctor, to avoid that the gastric mucosa is increasingly irritated and to facilitate the healing of ulcers, in addition to a change in eating habits.

5. Nosebleed

When nose bleeding is very intense, the person may involuntarily swallow blood and then eliminate it through vomiting, characterizing hematemesis. Most of the time, vomiting with blood due to nosebleeds is not serious, however, it is important that the person observes the frequency with which the bleeding occurs and the amount of blood eliminated, and it is important to consult the doctor in case it is very frequent.

What to do: To stop bleeding from the nose and thus prevent vomiting with blood, it is recommended that you compress the nose with a tissue or apply ice to the site. and keep your head bent forward. Here's how to stop nosebleeds.

6. Cancer

The presence of tumors in the stomach or esophagus can cause blood to come out of the mouth, however this symptom is more frequent in advanced stages of cancer. In addition to vomiting blood, most of the time other signs and symptoms that are indicative of the disease can be noticed, such as loss of appetite and weight, difficulty swallowing, dark and strong-smelling stools, feeling of a full stomach, excessive tiredness and abdominal discomfort.Know how to recognize all the symptoms of esophageal cancer.

What to do: If stomach or esophageal cancer is considered, it is important that diagnostic tests are performed, such as endoscopy and biopsy, so that, in case of confirmation, treatment is started quickly, avoiding disease progression and complications for the person.

Blood vomiting in baby

The baby may also vomit with blood, and the cause should be investigated by the pediatrician. Normally when the baby vomits blood it can be indicative of bleeding disease (lack of vitamin K), liver disease, serious infections or, being less serious, ingestion of blood during breastfeeding due to the presence of fissures or cracks in the mother's nipple.

In the case of children, vomiting with blood can happen due to having lost a tooth, bleeding from the nose that runs down the throat, coughing hard for many days or taking medication, for example.

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