Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is bleeding from the lining of the stomach or intestines. The GI tract is part of the digestive system that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
GI bleeding is a common health problem. Bleeding can occur from upper or lower portions of the GI tract. A major cause of GI bleeding is ulcer formation, which is a breakdown in the surface lining of the GI tract.
Many individuals stop bleeding on their own. Those who do not require special tests and procedures. Most patients with GI bleeding need a procedure called an endoscopy. This involves placing a flexible tube (endoscope) into the GI tract. The doctor performing the procedure can see through the endoscope and determine the site of bleeding. Special instruments placed through the endoscope can often stop the bleeding. Sometimes an operation is necessary to stop the bleeding.
GI bleeding is a serious problem and may be life threatening if the bleeding cannot be controlled.
Related LinksNational Library of Medicine
The National Library of Medicine presents information and pictures about gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.