Acute gastrointestinal bleeding is bleeding that is sudden and severe.
The symptoms of acute GI bleeding depend on where in the digestive tract the bleeding is occurring. Symptoms of upper GI bleeding can include bright red blood, dark clots, or coffee ground-like material in vomit, or black, tar-like stools. Symptoms of lower GI bleeding can include passing bright red blood alone or passing blood mixed in stool (turning stool to black or tar like), or bright red or maroon-colored blood in the stools.
Some bleeds, particularly those that occur in the upper GI tract, can be large and fatal. Therefore, it is very important to be evaluated by a physician for any GI bleeding, and if someone has any of the symptoms of an acute bleed, they should seek emergency treatment immediately.
Symptoms of acute bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid pulse
- Reduced urine flow
- Crampy abdominal pain
- Cold, clammy hands and feet
- Bright red blood coating the stool
- Dark blood mixed with the stool
- Black or tarry stool
- Bright red blood in vomit
- Coffee-grounds appearance of vomit
"Ulcers and Gastrointestinal Bleeding: Protecting Your Health." American College of Gastroenterology. 18 Oct 2007.
"Bleeding in the Digestive Tract." NIH Publication No. 07–1133 November 2004. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). 18 Oct 2007.