Vomiting Blood (Hematemesis)

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

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:

How is vomiting blood (hematemesis) diagnosed?

The diagnostic tests for vomiting blood will vary based on the suspected cause. The health care provider may start by asking questions about the possible cause including any recent injuries.

Tests may include an upper endoscopy, which involves inserting a small, flexible tube down the esophagus to check the stomach and small intestine.

Blood tests may also be needed if blood loss is an issue.

Finally, additional imaging tests such as CT scans, ultrasounds, X-rays or a biopsy of tissue may be needed if your health care provider suspects a more serious disease such as cancer.

How can vomiting blood be treated?

If only small flecks or 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.

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2024 02:05 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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