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What increases my risk for GI bleeding?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

The main risk factor for GI bleeding is older age—but remember, GI bleeding is usually a sign of another condition, and having that condition is what raises your risk. Common problems like hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). gastritis (possibly caused by overuse of alcohol and/or NSAID pain relievers), anal fissures, colitis, and diverticular disease are all associated with gastrointestinal bleeding. Other conditions that made lead to it are ulcerative colitis, benign tumors, polyps, or cancer in the digestive tract, esophageal varices, or angiodysplasia (abnormal blood vessels in the digestive tract). Colorectal cancer and hemorrhoids are the most common causes of GI bleeding in older people. You can't always tell the origin of the bleeding from its symptoms; rectal bleeding, for example, may come from the upper or lower gastrointestinal tract. It is a good idea to consult a doctor for evaluation, as some causes of GI bleeding can be quite serious.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.