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Hematemesis

Alternative names

Hematemesis; Blood in the vomit

Definition

Vomiting blood is a regurgitation of blood from the upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the
mouth, pharynx, esophagus (the feeding tube that transmits food and secretions from mouth to
stomach), stomach, and small intestine.

Considerations

Vomiting of blood results after there is upper gastrointestinal bleeding. This condition can
sometimes be difficult to distinguish from coughing up blood (from the lung) or a nosebleed
(bloody post-nasal drainage).

Conditions that cause blood to be vomited can also cause blood in the stool.

Common Causes

• Prolonged and vigorous retching (may cause a tear in the small blood vessels of the
throat or the esophagus, producing streaks of blood in the vomit)
• Bleeding ulcer located in the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus
• Irritation or erosion of the lining of the esophagus or stomach
• Bleeding esophageal varices
• Vascular malformations of the GI tract
• Tumors of the stomach or esophagus
• Esophagitis
• Gastritis
• Ingested blood (for example, swallowed after a nosebleed)
• Gastroenteritis

Home Care

Although not all situations are the result of a major medical problem, this is difficult to know
without a medical evaluation. Seek immediate medical attention.

Call your health care provider if

Call your doctor or go to the emergency room if vomiting of blood occurs -- this requires
immediate medical evaluation.

— MAHMUD CD9