You vomit blood or you vomit material that looks like coffee grounds
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your doctor may discover GI bleeding during an exam at your office visit.
GI bleeding can be an emergency condition that requires immediate medical care. Treatment may involve:
Fluids and medicines through a vein
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) - a thin tube with a camera on the end is passed through your mouth into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine
A tube is placed through your mouth into the stomach to drain the stomach contents (gastric lavage)
Once your condition is stable, you will have a physical exam and a detailed exam of your abdomen. You will also be asked questions about your symptoms, including:
When did you first notice symptoms?
Did you have black, tarry stools or red blood in the stools?
Have you vomited blood?
Did you vomit material that looks like coffee grounds?
Do you have a history of peptic or duodenal ulcers?
Have you ever had symptoms like this before?
What other symptoms do you have?
Tests that may be done include:
Abdominal CT scan
Abdominal MRI scan
Bleeding scan (tagged red blood cell scan)
Blood clotting tests
Capsule endoscopy (camera pill that is swallowed to look at the small intestine)
Complete blood count (CBC), clotting tests, platelet count, and other laboratory tests
Jensen DM. GI hemorrhage and occult GI bleeding. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 137.
Savides TJ, Jensen DM. Gastrointestinal bleeding. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 19.
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.