Advanced General Surgery

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding is a disorder of the digestive system that needs to be treated. Learn about warning signs. Schedule Your Appointment Today.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

What is Gastrointestinal bleeding?

Gastrointestinal bleeding is a disorder of the digestive system, which consists of blood loss through the digestive tract. It appears as blood in the stool or vomit.

The intensity or level of bleeding can change and if not treated it can be fatal. 

Gastrointestinal Bleeding is classified in two ways:

  • Upper, originates from the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (first part of the small intestine) 

  • Lower, originate in the small intestine or colon


Gastrointestinal Bleeding occurs due to various factors, these can vary according to the severity of the bleeding, we group the following: 

  • Anal fissure 

  • Abnormal blood vessels in the lining of the intestines (angiodysplasia)

  • Diverticulosis

  • Esophagitis

  • Esophageal varices

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Tumors

  • Colon cancer

  • Cancer of the stomach

  • Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis

  • Gastric ulcer

  • Small intestine cancer

  • Intestinal polyps (precancerous disease)

  • Mallory-Weiss tear

  • Meckel diverticulum

  • Radiation injury to the bowel


Gastrointestinal Bleeding can present with the following symptoms:

  • Fresh or semi-digested blood present in the stool

  • Vomiting blood

  • Bowel sounds

  • Weakness

  • Fainting, dizziness

  • Abdominal pain

  • Cold sweat

  • Tachycardia

  • Shock

  • Difficulty breathing

Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal bleeding 

The General Surgeon or Gastroenterologist will perform a medical history, including a previous history of bleeding, a physical exam, and questions about your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history.

We group some of the possible tests that could be carried out:

  • Blood test

  • Stool analysis

  • Angiography

  • Nasogastric lavage helps to know the cause of bleeding

  • Upper digestive Endoscopy

  • Double balloon enteroscopy, examines areas of the small intestine where other tests using an endoscope cannot reach

  • Capsule Endoscopy

  • Colonoscopy allows examining the large intestine and rectum

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy allows you to see the rectum and the last part of the large intestine, which leads to the rectum (sigmoid colon)

  • CT Scan

Treatment of Gastrointestinal bleeding 

In some cases, the patient with Gastrointestinal Bleeding may not need medication to treat it, and it will stop on its own. 

The treatment provided will be according to the cause and severity of the gastrointestinal bleeding; in general, it is possible to administer medications or perform a procedure to control bleeding during specific tests. 

If you have high Gastrointestinal Bleeding, your Gastroenterologist or General Surgeon may use one of the following methods: 

  • Intravenous medication 

  • Fluids through a needle (IV) 

  • Blood transfusions

Living with gastrointestinal bleeding

Following the treatment provided by your Gastroenterologist or General Surgeon and leading a healthy lifestyle could improve the quality of life.

The following are the most common recommendations:

  • Limit consumption of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Do not smoke

  • Have a moderate alcohol consumption

  • Manage stress

  • Maintain a healthy diet

When to see a doctor?

Contact a Gastroenterologist or General Surgeon if you have any of the symptoms mentioned. 

If you are diagnosed with upper (acute) gastrointestinal bleeding, you can go directly to the BlueNetHospitals Emergency Room in Los Cabos or call an ambulance at 624 1043 911.

When consulting your doctor, we recommend keeping a record of your pain with a detailed description of the symptoms, duration, and what you think triggered them. Also, mention any medications you are taking.