Vomiting blood (Other names: bloody vomit, hematemesis, haematemesis).
Vomiting blood is regurgitation of the blood from somewhere in the upper gastrointestinal tract which includes the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach or small intestine. It should be differentiated from coughing up blood (hemoptysis). Vomiting blood usually refers to significant amounts of blood in the vomit. Blood in vomit may be bright red or it may appear as black or dark brown like coffee grounds. Vomiting blood may be caused by swallowing blood which has resulted from a nosebleed or from forceful coughing but it normally is caused by something more serious and medical attention should be sought immediately.
Some causes of vomiting blood are:
Hematemesis risk factors include use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s), aspirin, chronic alcohol use or those with chronic renal failure.
Vomiting blood is a medical emergency and you should see a doctor immediately. It's important to identify quickly the cause of the bleeding and prevent more severe blood loss or complications. Call the emergency service if vomiting blood causes dizziness after standing, rapid shallow breathing or displaying signs of shock (pallor, fast weak pulse, low blood pressure, feeling faint or cold clammy skin).
Provide your doctor with as much information as you can, it may help you to think about the answer to these questions you may be asked:
Seeking early medical attention will mean diagnosis and treatment is initiated earlier to detect where the bleeding is orginating from and to stop the bleeding.
Mandy has worked for Isabel Healthcare since 2000. Prior to this, she was a Senior Staff Nurse on the Pediatric Infectious disease ward and high dependency unit at one of London's top hospitals, St Mary’s in Paddington which is part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Her experience in the healthcare industry for the past 28 years in both the UK and USA means she's a vital resource for our organization. Mandy currently lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona.