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Gastrointestinal bleeding occurs when something along the digestive system has a problem, with the bleeding a signifier that an individual has an issue.
Because the bleeding can occur anywhere along the digestive tract, it is crucial to have it appropriately investigated; remember that bleeding is a symptom and not a condition or disease in its own right.
At OneWelbeck Digestive Health, we help patients who have found themselves suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding and need help with symptoms. Our team helps patients find answers to their GI problems and what solutions are available.
Which symptoms are a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding?
Common symptoms that may need to be looked at would include:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool or vomit
- Changes in bowel habits
- Dizziness or feeling tired
- A general feeling of weakness
What can cause gastrointestinal bleeding?
The digestive system is a diverse area, and as such, bleeding can be the result of several potential issues. Some of the most common would be:
- Colitis – Ulcers in the large intestine (you’ll also hear it referred to as ulcerative colitis)
- Angiodysplasia – Blood vessels in the digestive systems enlarge and break
- Benign tumours – If you get a benign tumour in an area like the stomach or colon, it can cause disruption, which in turn leads to bleeding
- Stomach Ulcers
- Gastritis – Inflammation or damage to the stomach lining. This can be due to infection, existing conditions (Crohn’s disease is a typical example) and the existing use of medicine which may be creating side effects.
- Haemorrhoids – Straining muscles while going to the toilet, or creating fissures, can see blood in the stool after passing a movement.
Does everyone experience gastrointestinal bleeding differently?
It is important to know that bleeding in the digestive system is commonly divided into two designations: Upper & Lower GI bleeding.
Upper GI bleeding is everything from the oesophagus to the start of the small intestine (the duodenum).
Lower GI bleeding is everything from the small intestine to the rectum.
There can be subtle differences in how bleeding occurs within the upper and lower bands. Ulcers, for example, tend to be more common in upper GI bleeding while polyps are more frequent in the lower.
How is gastrointestinal bleeding diagnosed?
At OneWelbeck, we carry out a series of tests for gastrointestinal conditions to see why an individual would have GI bleeding.
Tests to help diagnose what is causing bleeding include:
- Sample test of blood and stool
- Gastric lavage
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Imaging tests, be that a CT scan or angiogram
It’s important to remember that early diagnosis increases the chance of treatment being successful. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, you can get in touch with our team today.
How is gastrointestinal bleeding treated?
Treatment depends on where bleeding is occurring. Someone with upper GI bleeding in their throat shouldn’t expect the same treatment as someone with lower GI bleeding in their intestine.
A prescription is a standard course of action, allowing medicine to combat the bleeding, with inhibitors and anti-inflammation tablets used frequently.
In some instances where bleeding is consistent or a patient is showing no signs of improvement while on medicine, further investigations may be required and surgery may be necessary.
Does GI bleeding have any long-term effects?
Some diet changes may be required to combat the bleeding, and simple actions like lowering alcohol consumption are advised depending on the area and severity of bleeding.
Lifestyle changes are something that would be discussed in person with a gastrointestinal specialist who can get a good idea of someone’s diet and habits.
Get in touch
Experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding or have some of the symptoms listed on this page and want to see an expert?
At OneWelbeck, you can expect exceptional care in a calm, supportive environment.
If you have any questions about these procedures, our team of world-class gastroenterologists will be happy to discuss options with you.
You can get in touch with us here.