Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract is very common. It should not be ignored due to its serious possible causes and life-threatening results. Understanding the basic terms and definitions used in GI bleeding will make it easier for you to recognize GI bleeding in yourself or a family member, communicate more clearly with your doctor about your symptoms, and more effectively search for information. accurate. You will also be a more educated and effective advocate for yourself so that the cause can be diagnosed and treated accurately and in a timely manner.
Blood in the stool:
Blood in the stool or in the gastrointestinal tract can take various forms or appearances depending on where it comes from and how fast the bleeding is. There are common medical terms and definitions for blood in the gastrointestinal tract or stool that may not be familiar to the non-specialist public, but may be helpful in knowing if you or a member of your family is experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding.
Hematemesis is vomiting blood:
Red hematemesis is vomiting red blood. Hematemesis from coffee grounds consists of vomiting blood altered by stomach juices.
The blood in the stomach is quite nauseating and usually results in vomiting. Vomiting blood is called hematemesis. It can be bright red in color if it occurs briefly after blood enters the stomach or when bleeding is rapid. Stomach acid and digestive juices alter the blood that remains in the stomach. If the disturbed blood is vomited, it usually appears as old coffee grounds, hence the term “coffee grounds as” hematemesis. Blood can originate in the stomach, be swallowed, or regurgitate from the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine just after the stomach.
Mane and blood as a very powerful laxative:
If the blood in the stomach is not vomited completely, the disturbed blood passes into the intestine where it usually triggers diarrhea. However, the diarrhea is usually black, tarry, and smelly. This is called melena or melenic stools. Although many doctors mistakenly refer to these stools as melanotic, that is a misnomer. Melanotic refers to containing melanin, the dark skin pigment found in moles and in malignant skin cancer, melanoma. Melena or melenic stools indicate bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract or a blood source because it has been altered by digestive juices present only in the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. This bleeding usually originates from a site that can be accessed with an upper endoscope, although occasionally the site is out of range of the upper endoscope.
Lower gastrointestinal bleeding and rectal bleeding:
Red blood flowing through the rectum usually indicates that the source of the bleeding is in the lower colon or rectum, or a lower gastrointestinal bleeding, except for a massive upper tract bleeding. Bright red blood on toilet paper or dripping into the toilet bowl usually comes from the anus or rectum, most commonly from hemorrhoids or an anal fissure, although it can occur with rectal cancer.
Bloody diarrhea and colitis:
Bloody diarrhea, often with mucus, is typical of colitis. Colitis is inflammation of the colon or large intestine due to a number of causes that can include infection, poor blood flow to the intestine (ischemia) and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Hidden blood in stool:
It takes between 50 and 100 ml of blood for the stool to turn black or melenic. Therefore, less than 2 cups of bleeding is usually not visibly detectable and is called fecal occult blood. There are several chemical tests for detecting occult blood in stool that can be performed on the stool or stool obtained by examining the gloved finger by a doctor. Hidden blood in the stool is of concern for cancer and requires an evaluation of the cause. Ulcers, acid reflux, celiac disease, polyps, colitis and Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids, and lesions caused by aspirin-type medications in the gastrointestinal tract are common non-cancer causes of occult blood in stool .
Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract should not be ignored.
Now that you understand these basic terms and definitions, it will be easier for you to recognize gastrointestinal bleeding in yourself or a family member and to communicate more clearly with your doctor about your symptoms. You will also be able to be a more educated and effective advocate for yourself, as well as to more intelligently search for the cause, diagnostic options, and available treatments. Future articles will include more details on the causes and treatment of upper, lower, and occult GI bleeding. Also, visit www.thefooddoc.com to learn more about digestive conditions and food-related illnesses, as well as to subscribe to my blog for up-to-date information on gut, food, and health.