Causes of Bleeding in the Digestive Tract

Topic Overview

Causes of bleeding in the stomach and intestines (digestive tract) include:

  • Regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ASA and ibuprofen. These medicines can irritate the stomach lining and cause an ulcer .
  • Inflammatory bowel disease .
  • Colon polyps or colorectal cancer , especially in older adults. It is important to identify and treat these as early as possible, because they may be life-threatening.
  • Frequently occurring hemorrhoids . People with hemorrhoids often do not seek treatment right away, resulting in chronic bleeding.
  • Esophagitis, which is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach).
  • Hookworm and other parasites . These parasites feed upon blood from the intestinal wall . Significant blood loss can result if they are left untreated.
  • Long-distance running (runner's anemia ). People who regularly run long distances often have some type of bleeding in the digestive tract.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014