What is Hematemesis?

June 21, 2024

What is Hematemesis?
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Hematemesis is the term for vomiting blood. Usually, the cause is the upper gastrointestinal system, specifically above the duodenum’s suspensory muscle. It can be brought on by swallowed blood (from bleeding in the mouth, nose, or throat), ulcers, tumors of the stomach or esophagus, varices, continuous and severe retching, gastroenteritis, or certain medications.

Treatments for hematemesis are determined by the volume of blood lost and are administered in a medical emergency. Endoscopy is one type of investigation. Blood transfusions and intravenous fluids can be used to replace any lost blood. 

What is Hematemesis?

Hematemesis is the term for blood vomiting. The patient could vomit blood along with the stomach contents or only blood, depending on what is in the stomach. It may be new and intense red or older, darker, and more solid, similar to ground coffee. When internal bleeding occurs in the upper part of the digestive tract, such as the stomach, esophagus, and duodenum, it is referred to as hematemesis. It is imperative to get medical assistance immediately if suffering from frequent bouts of vomiting blood.

Causes of Hematemesis

Hematemesis is an indication of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. This covers the stomach, esophagus, and the first segment of the intestines. 

Typical causes of hematemesis include:

  • Stomach Ulcers: This ailment, sometimes called a peptic ulcer, is an excruciating open sore on the stomach lining. These sores, known as duodenal ulcers, can also develop in the first section of the gut. Vomiting blood can be a result of the arterial damage caused by these lesions.
  • Esophageal Varices: The esophageal varices are enlarged tube veins connecting the stomach to the mouth. These happen when clots or scarring in the liver obstruct regular blood flow. These smaller vessels, which aren’t designed to hold a lot of blood, will receive the redirected blood. They can leak blood or explode and cause potentially fatal bleeding when they are huge.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: The inflammatory illness commonly referred to as GERD is caused by stomach acid that backwashes into the esophagus. Severe instances may cause bleeding due to lining irritation.
  • Mallory-Weiss Rupture: When there is an extended period of cough or vomit, the esophageal lining tears open and begins to bleed. It is frequently connected to binge drinking.

Other, less frequent reasons can also result in hematemesis. These may consist of:

  • Radiation exposure 
  • Cancer of the stomach 
  • Ingesting a poison
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Hemorrhagic fever is a serious sickness characterized by internal bleeding caused by an infectious disease
  • Blood disorders such as hemophilia or anemia

Symptoms of Hematemesis

Hematemesis’s primary symptom is blood in the vomit. There are two types of blood and vomit:

  • Brown and bright red
  • Dark, resembling coffee grinds

Blood may also be present in the feces resembling sticky, dark tar. It’s advised to seek medical attention if experiencing the symptoms listed below along with vomiting blood:

  • Dizziness
  • Pale complexion
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Blue lips or fingernails on light-skin
  • Gray lips or fingernails on dark skin
  • Quick and shallow breathing
  • Weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Rapid or shallow heartbeat
  • Confusion

Treatment for Hematemesis

The cause of vomiting blood will determine the line of treatment. The following methods of treatment are listed below:

  • Medicines: Medication will be provided to lessen the quantity of acid that the stomach generates to stop blood flow to an injury or tear. If suffering from hematemesis due to an ulcer, this could be helpful.
  • Endoscopy: To treat the source of your bleeding, endoscopy may be necessary. A medical professional could apply heat to mend a tear. To encourage healing, tissue may be clipped together.
  • Blood Transfusion: The healthcare professional might advise a blood transfusion if a significant amount of blood is lost.
  • Angiography: An angiography is performed to locate and halt arterial bleeding. After injecting contrast liquid into an artery, blood flow is captured on X-rays. 
  • Surgery: If there is significant bleeding or other therapies are not working surgery is strongly advised. A tear in the stomach or intestine’s lining may need to be repaired surgically. Additionally, surgery could also be required to remove a tumor or blockage.


Vomiting blood is called “hematemesis” in medical terminology. Any cases of bloody vomit should be treated as serious medical emergencies and looked at by a medical professional or an emergency room doctor.

Vomiting blood can have a variety of underlying reasons, each of which has additional symptoms and indicators. But since blood in the vomit can be rather serious, it’s important to identify the reason and start treatment right once.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it possible to die from vomiting blood?

Death from vomiting is not expected to occur, although significant blood loss can be fatal. Bleeding excessively puts you at risk for hypovolemic shock, which can result in organ failure and even death. However, this is an uncommon occurrence. However, if you’re throwing up a lot of blood a quick visit to the emergency room is advised.

2. How serious is throwing up blood?

A variety of factors might cause blood in vomit. Medical professionals are unable to assess the severity of the condition until they carry out required tests for the same. Due to this, medical professionals handle all hematemesis situations as emergencies until they have further information.

3. Is hematemesis curable?

There are several methods by which healthcare practitioners might halt active internal bleeding. On the other hand, it could be more difficult to treat if a persistent illness is the source of your bleeding. If the underlying cause of the hematemesis is not treated, it may make a comeback.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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