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Bloody Vomiting

Hematoma (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Bloody vomiting affects both younger and older. The blood may be fresh red or resembling "coffee grounds". The most common causes are gastric ulcers and varicose veins in the food pipe. Anyone with bloody vomiting should contact the doctor immediately.

Bloody vomiting is rare but severe. Everyone - young and old - can have bloody vomiting. The older the man is, the more dangerous it is. 

Bloody vomiting is caused by bleeding in the food pipe or stomach. Vomiting may be in red blood or like "coffee grounds". The fresh red-blooded vomiting is due to diseases (varicose veins or scratches) of the food pipe. The "coffee grounds" vomiting is due to diseases of the stomach (stomach ulcers). 

Younger with severe vomiting, often in conjunction with alcohol intake, may cause a small rupture in the food pipe and therefore there will be some fresh red blood in the vomiting. If there is only very little fresh blood in the vomiting, doctors will see the condition as not dangerous. 

Stomach ulcer is a frequent cause of bloody vomiting and is most commonly seen in middle-aged. In the period up to the bloody vomiting, there will usually be pain in the upper part of the stomach. 

Varicose vain in the food pipe is a rare but a serious cause of bloody vomiting. Vomiting is with large amounts of fresh red blood. Varicose vain are commonly seen in cirrhosis of the liver and may be due to a prolonged alcohol abuse. 

A greater blood loss can cause drop in blood pressure and increasing heart rate. The skin becomes cold, pale and clammy. Consciousness is weakened. Doctors then talk about a shock condition that is life threatening. Statements show that with severe bleeding, 10% will die.

What can you do?

You can not do anything except to contact your doctor immediately.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

You should always contact the doctor immediately.

Contact the doctor immediately

It is important that you contact your doctor immediately. Most people are hospitalised in an emergency room, where the doctor in a binocular examination (an endoscope) examines the food pipe and stomach to determine where it is bleeding. The treatment may be medicine or surgery.