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Is upper GI bleeding serious?

Dr. Elif E. Oker, MD
Medical Toxicology
Upper GI bleeding is serious if large amounts of blood are lost very quickly. When this happens the body is not able to get enough blood to vital organs. Esophageal varices (varicose veins of the esophagus) and ulcers may cause serious upper GI bleeding.

When it occurs, upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding can be very serious and should not be taken lightly. It could indicate tears or ruptures in the vessels and lining of the GI tract, or it could mean that an ulcer has perforated, creating a hole somewhere in the lining as well. Vomiting any amount of blood is serious, and any blood noticed in your stool needs to be taken seriously as well. Upper GI bleeding means something else is going on, so left untreated, any problem may just get worse. Extreme upper GI bleeding can require blood transfusions, or even surgery, so go to your doctor immediately if you suspect any upper GI bleeding.

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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.