ZocdocAnswersHow can one tell if their stomach is bleeding?

Question

How can one tell if their stomach is bleeding?

How exactly would I know if my stomach was bleeding? I've had red stool recently, and I think the signs point to trouble in my stomach ? but I can't be sure. What tests will doctors use to determine the problem area?

Answer

Bleeding in the stomach is a signal of serious medical disease and should prompt urgent evaluation. It is best evaluated by an emergency room physician, a gastroenterologist, or an internist. Blood in the stool or in the toilet bowel can occur due to multiple reasons. It can be caused by bleeding anywhere from the mouth or esophagus, the stomach, or the small or large intestine. It is not possible to determine where the bleeding is without a full evaluation. Additionally, other signs that there is bleeding in the stomach include black, tarry bowel movements. There are a number of different tests that your doctor will use to evaluate you. They will perform basic lab tests that will tell them how much blood you have lost. These tests will also show if you have any evidence of problems with your blood clotting. If your blood is too thin, this can cause blood in the stool. Depending on the rate of bleeding, the doctors may place a small tube into your stomach through your mouth and rinse your stomach to see if there is ongoing bleeding there. Finally, doctors often will need to perform an endoscopy and/or a colonoscopy. These tests involve putting a small tube through your mouth, or anus, respectively, and looking with a camera to evaluate sites of bleeding. Blood in the stool is highly abnormal and should prompt urgent evaluation by a physician.

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

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