Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is bleeding in the digestive tract.

The Digestive Tract
si55551180_97870_1_digestive_tract
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

The digestive tract is divided into two sections. The upper digestive tract includes the:

  • Esophagus—the muscular tube that transports food from the throat to the stomach
  • Stomach
  • Upper portion of the small intestine

The lower digestive tract includes the:

  • Lower portion of the small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Anus

GI bleeding is a potentially serious symptom that requires care from your doctor.

GI bleeding is a symptom caused by several possible conditions.

Causes in the upper digestive tract may include:

  • Peptic ulcer—a sore in the lining of the stomach or the upper portion of the small intestine
  • Esophageal varices—abnormally swollen veins within the lining of the esophagus
  • Mallory-Weiss tears—tears in the lining of the esophagus
  • Gastritis—inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the stomach
  • Esophagitis—inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the esophagus
  • Benign tumors—abnormal tissue growth that is not cancerous
  • Cancer—cancer in the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine

Causes in the lower digestive tract may include:

  • Angiodysplasia—abnormal growth of blood vessels in the intestine
  • Diverticulum—a pouch that forms on the wall of the large intestine
  • Diverticulitis—occurs when the pouch becomes inflamed
  • Colitis—inflammation of the colon
  • Hemorrhoids—enlarged veins in the anus or rectum
  • Fissures—tears in the anus
  • Polyps or colon cancer