Gastrointestinal bleeding is a condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract, this is made up of the oesophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, rectum and anus. Bleeding can occur from any of these organs, it is normally in small amounts which will only be located through a microscopic examination, however there can be some cases of severe bleeding depending on the location.
The symptoms of GI bleeding will vary based on the location and how severe bleeding may be. There are different signs in the upper and lower digestive tract. Signs of bleeding in the in the upper GI tract include red blood when vomiting, vomiting that looks like coffee grounds and black or tarry stools, dark blood mixed with stool or stool mixed with bright red blood and black or tarry stools.
GI bleeding is not necessarily a disease it is more of a symptom of one. There are various causes of GI bleeding which include hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, inflammation of the oesphagus, ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease, colonic polyps or cancer within the stomach, oesophagus or the colon.
At Hadley Wood Hospital our consultants are professionally trained with many years experience therefore can offer the most appropriate advice to our patients and tailor each service to their needs.
The diagnosis of both upper and lower GI bleeding will vary. Your doctor will firstly ask you about the symptoms you experience followed by a stool sample being taken, they will then test for the presence of blood, you may also be given a blood test by your doctor who will look for signs of anemia. Upper GI bleeding is usually examined using an endoscopic examination. To determine the cause of lower GI bleeding a colonoscopy is performed.
During a upper GI endoscopy or a colonoscopy (lower GI diagnosis) it is possible for your consultant to stop the bleeding in the GI tract. This is done by them inserting tools through the required scope (endoscope or colonoscope) which will allow them to either inject medicines into the bleeding area, treat the bleeding area and surrounding tissue with a heat probe or electrical current and close the affected vessels in the required area with a clip.