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Dr QM Leong
Dr QM Leong

Symptoms Of Internal Bleeding In Stomach: 5 Things You Must Know

Symptoms Of Internal Bleeding In Stomach: 5 Things You Must Know

Internal bleeding in the stomach, also known as gastrointestinal bleeding, is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires prompt medical attention. This type of bleeding can manifest in various ways, depending on the severity and location of the bleeding source.

Common signs and symptoms of internal bleeding include vomiting blood, which may appear as bright red or have a dark, coffee-ground-like consistency, and black, tarry stools resulting from partially digested blood. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, weakness, dizziness, or fainting due to blood loss.

Symptoms Of Internal Bleeding In The Stomach

Recognising the symptoms of internal bleeding in the stomach is crucial for timely intervention and treatment. Here are some symptoms that may indicate blood flow disruption due to severe internal bleeding:

  • Vomiting blood: Bright red or dark, coffee-ground-like in appearance
  • Black, tarry stools: A result of partially digested blood
  • Abdominal pain: Discomfort or cramping in the stomach region
  • Weakness: Fatigue or general malaise
  • Dizziness or fainting: Caused by blood loss and reduced blood flow to the brain
  • Rapid heart rate: The body’s attempt to compensate for blood loss
  • Pale skin and shortness of breath: Indicative of decreased blood volume and oxygen delivery
  • Confusion and disorientation: Indicates enormous blood loss, which can lead to total loss of consciousness.
  • Bruising: Bruising can occur around the navel, belly, and flank. Fractures can also lead to extensive bruising.
  • Shortness of breath: This can be a symptom of internal bleeding in the stomach as the body struggles to compensate for the loss of blood volume, leading to reduced oxygen delivery to tissues and organs. This respiratory distress may be accompanied by feelings of weakness, dizziness, or even fainting.

2. Causes Of Internal Bleeding In The Stomach

Internal bleeding in the stomach can occur due to various conditions affecting the blood vessels and the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. The types of internal bleeding where this phenomenon occurs include:

Peptic Ulcers

Sores that develop on the stomach lining, oesophagus, or upper part of the small intestine, are often caused by Helicobacter pylori infection or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic ulcers can erode blood vessels, leading to internal bleeding.

Gastritis

Inflammation of the stomach lining may cause bleeding, resulting from factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications, infections, or autoimmune disorders.

Esophageal Varices

Swollen blood vessels in the oesophagus lining are commonly associated with liver disease. These fragile vessels can rupture due to increased blood pressure, leading to severe internal bleeding and requiring medical emergency.

Mallory-Weiss Tear

A tear in the lining of the oesophagus or stomach is typically caused by forceful vomiting or retching. This condition can damage blood vessels and cause internal bleeding.

Gastrointestinal Tumours

Benign or malignant growths in the stomach or intestinal lining can lead to bleeding as they invade blood vessels or disrupt the tissue.

Angiodysplasia

This condition involves the development of abnormal, fragile blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract, which can rupture and cause internal bleeding.

Dieulafoy’s Lesion

A rare but potentially life-threatening cause of gastrointestinal bleeding, this condition involves the presence of an abnormally large artery in the stomach or intestinal wall that can rupture and bleed.

Hemorrhagic Gastritis

This acute form of gastritis is characterised by the rapid onset of bleeding from the stomach lining, often caused by severe stress, critical illness, or injury.

Aortoenteric Fistula

Aortoenteric fistula is a rare and life-threatening condition in which an abnormal connection forms between the aorta (the main artery in the body) and the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in massive internal bleeding.

Gastrointestinal Ischemia

Reduced blood flow to the digestive tract due to blocked or narrowed blood vessels can damage tissue and lead to internal bleeding.

Ingestion Of Caustic Substances

Accidental or intentional ingestion of corrosive chemicals or foreign objects can cause damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to internal bleeding.

Iatrogenic Injury

Internal bleeding in the stomach can occur due to medical procedures or treatments, such as endoscopy, surgery, or the use of certain medications that affect blood clotting.

Aneurysm

Internal bleeding may also be caused by an aneurysm, which represents a swelling in a blood vessel due to a weakened vessel wall. This weakness can lead to the rupture of the vessel. In some cases, an aneurysm rupture occurs during intense activity, while in others, it can happen unexpectedly during rest or sleep.

Aneurysms in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysms) are common. If you suspect any of the symptoms mentioned above without relief, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention.

Blunt Force Trauma

Blunt force trauma is a significant cause of internal bleeding in the stomach, often resulting from high-impact events such as car accidents, falls, or physical assaults.

When the abdominal region experiences a forceful impact, the stomach’s blood vessels, organs, and tissues can be damaged, leading to internal bleeding.

In some cases, the bleeding may be slow and initially present without obvious symptoms, making it challenging to detect.

However, as enough blood accumulates within the abdominal cavity, individuals may experience discomfort, pain, and other signs of internal bleeding. Rapid detection and treatment are crucial in these situations, as severe internal bleeding can be life-threatening if left unaddressed.

Again, seeking medical attention and treatment is essential following a traumatic event with a potential abdominal injury, even without apparent symptoms.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) encompasses chronic inflammatory conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These disorders can lead to internal bleeding in the stomach and other parts of the digestive system.

The inflammation associated with IBD can cause the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract to become damaged and ulcerated.

As a result, blood vessels within the affected area may be compromised, and internal bleeding may occur.

The severity of bleeding can vary depending on the extent of the inflammation and the specific blood vessels involved.

Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids, although typically associated with the rectum and anus, can occasionally contribute to internal bleeding in the digestive tract, including the stomach.

These swollen blood vessels can develop around the anal region or within the rectum, leading to bleeding when irritated or strained.

3. When To See A Doctor For Internal Bleeding In Your Stomach?

While some cases of internal bleeding in the stomach may come with obvious symptoms, others might be more subtle, making it crucial to recognise the warning signs and seek medical help as needed.

Seek medical help if you experience common internal bleeding symptoms and symptoms of shock (due to rapid bleeding), such as:

  • Rapid or weak pulse: The body tries to compensate for the blood loss by increasing the heart rate.
  • Pale or cold, clammy skin: This results from decreased blood flow to the skin.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing or shortness of breath: The body struggles to get enough oxygen due to reduced blood volume.
  • Confusion or altered mental state: Decreased oxygen delivery to the brain may lead to cognitive impairments.
  • Weakness or fatigue: The body cannot maintain normal energy levels due to blood loss.
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension): Blood pressure drops as the body struggles to maintain adequate circulation.
  • Decreased urine output: Reduced blood flow to the kidneys results in less urine production.

4. Treatment For Internal Bleeding In The Stomach

Addressing internal stomach bleeding is paramount to prevent severe complications such as organ failure and promote a full recovery.

A comprehensive treatment plan involves identifying the underlying cause, controlling the bleeding, and managing associated symptoms.

Stabilising The Patient

The first step in treating internal bleeding in the stomach is stabilising the patient. This may include administering intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, or medications to support blood pressure and prevent shock.

Diagnosis

Next, healthcare providers will use diagnostic tools, such as endoscopy, to identify the source of bleeding and determine the best course of action.

Endoscopy is often the first-line approach for diagnosing and treating internal bleeding in the stomach.

This procedure involves a flexible tube with a scope and specialised instruments to visualise the digestive tract, locate the bleeding site, and potentially treat the problem.

Endoscopic techniques can be used to cauterise, clip, or inject medications into blood vessel walls to stop the bleeding.

Surgery

In more severe cases or when endoscopic treatment is unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove the damaged tissue, blood vessels, or organs causing the bleeding.

Laparoscopic or open surgical techniques may be employed depending on the patient’s condition and the surgeon’s assessment.

Medication

Pharmacological interventions, such as acid-suppressing medications, may also be prescribed to facilitate healing and prevent further bleeding, especially in peptic ulcers or gastritis.

5. How To Prevent Internal Bleeding In The Stomach

Preventing internal bleeding in the stomach is an essential aspect of maintaining good gastrointestinal health.

Taking a proactive approach and following these strategies allows you to reduce the risk of developing stomach bleeding and associated complications.

Manage Underlying Medical Conditions

Keep chronic conditions, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, under control with regular follow-ups and treatment adherence.

Maintaining favourable blood pressure control and managing clotting factors in patients with bleeding disorders can also reduce the risk of internal bleeding.

Use Medications Responsibly

Be cautious with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and blood-thinning medications, as prolonged use can increase the risk of stomach bleeding.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations and seek alternatives when appropriate.

Protect Your Stomach Lining

Adopt a healthy diet and limit the consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods that can irritate the stomach lining.

Regular Check-Ups

Schedule routine physical examinations and screenings to detect and address potential issues early. Early detection and intervention can prevent complications related to internal bleeding in the stomach.

Avoid Risky Behaviours

Reduce your risk of trauma and injury by practising safe driving habits, wearing appropriate protective gear during sports, and maintaining a safe home environment to prevent falls.

Conclusion About Internal Bleeding In The Stomach

Addressing internal bleeding in the stomach is vital to prevent severe complications and promote optimal health. Understanding the warning signs, getting appropriate treatment, consulting with a professional colorectal specialist and following preventive measures can all significantly improve patient outcomes.

Always be proactive and vigilant in ensuring optimal gastrointestinal health. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Symptoms Of Internal Bleeding In The Stomach

Can A Peptic Ulcer Cause Internal Bleeding?

Yes, a peptic ulcer can cause internal bleeding when the ulcer erodes the stomach or duodenal lining, damaging blood vessels.

How Can I Differentiate Between Stomach Cramps And Internal Bleeding?

Stomach cramps often cause intermittent pain and may be associated with certain foods, while internal bleeding typically presents with persistent pain, dark or bloody stools, and possibly weakness or dizziness.

How Long Can Internal Bleeding In The Stomach Go Unnoticed?

Internal bleeding in the stomach can go unnoticed for variable periods, depending on its severity; mild bleeding might be asymptomatic, while severe bleeding can cause rapid symptom onset.

Can Unexplained Weight Loss Be A Symptom Of Stomach Internal Bleeding?

Unexplained weight loss is not a direct symptom of internal stomach bleeding. Still, it may indirectly indicate an underlying issue, such as a peptic ulcer, which can cause internal bleeding.