ZocdocAnswersAm I vomiting blood or is it coffee?

Question

Am I vomiting blood or is it coffee?

I have been diagnosed with AN b/p and just threw up something that either looked like coffee or very dark blood but I cant tell which because I have had coffee today... how do I tell and should I be worried?

Answer

Anytime you vomit material that looks like blood or that looks like coffee grounds you should proceed to an emergency department immediately. This is because in either case you likely have vomited blood. Vomit that has blood in it can look like blood itself which is red, or it can look like coffee grounds which is really just digested blood. In either case this suggests that you have a bleed in your esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. There are several causes of this kind of bleeding and all of them require immediate medical attention. The first cause is a bleeding stomach ulcer. This can occur because of an infection in the stomach with a bacteria called H. pylori or it can be because of overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Another cause is esophageal varices. These occur in people that have long-term liver disease. Both of these problems can cause severe bleeding and require emergency care. This is why I would suggest that you proceed to a hospital immediately. You will need evaluation by a gastroenterologist. People that come in with significant bleeding need immediate blood test to look for blood counts and they need an upper endoscopy within the first 24 hours to find the source of bleeding and see if it can be stopped.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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