Vomiting Blood

Also known as: bloody vomit, bloody emesis, puking blood, hematemesis,

What is vomiting blood?

Blood can be present in the vomit for a number of reasons, including aggressive coughing, a nosebleed that is also present and more. If vomiting blood goes beyond small streaks or flecks and includes a large amount of blood, however, it’s considered a medical emergency.

What might cause vomiting blood?

Medical causes of vomiting blood may include:
  • Stomach or esophageal tumors
  • Liver failure
  • Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
  • Inflammation of the esophagus, stomach or intestine
  • Eroding of the lining of the stomach
  • Pancreatitis
  • Enlarged or protruding blood vessels
  • Regular NSAID use
  • Various forms of cancer
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Prolonged vomiting
  • Swallowed maternal blood (if breastfeeding)
  • Trauma
  • Ingestion of caustic substances
  • Blockage in the intestine

How can it be treated?

If only small flecks of streaks of blood are present and the vomiting is short-lived or accompanied by coughing or nosebleed, no action may be needed. Rest and fluids may help the patient feel better.

When should you seek medical attention?

If the blood in the vomit is significant and accompanied by symptoms such as rapid breathing, green vomit, dizziness, fainting, confusion or cold pale skin, seek medical attention immediately.

Reviewed by: Shifra Koyfman, MD

This page was last updated on: March 29, 2021 03:42 PM

Pediatric Gastroenterology

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is dedicated to the treatment of a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems in infants, children and adolescents with a multidisciplinary approach.

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