Gastrointestinal bleeding may also be acute (comes on suddenly) or chronic (comes and goes over a period of time). Either way, it is a serious issue and should be dealt with as soon as possible. If left untreated, excessive gastrointestinal bleeding can cause iron-deficiency anaemia or you could go into shock.
The symptoms of shock are:
If you notice any signs of gastrointestinal bleeding, it is imperative that you seek professional help and describe your symptoms clearly. You may be asked if there is a family history of gastrointestinal bleeding, what your medical history is, and if you are allergic to anything.
The diagnostic tools for lower and upper gastrointestinal bleeding are different.
Most used when diagnosing an upper gastrointestinal bleed. A thin and flexible wire with a light and camera attached to one end, also known as a gastroscope, is inserted into your mouth and gently led through through your oesophagus and then into your stomach and duodenum.
Only used if an endoscopy was unable to find the source of the bleeding. It involves and endoscope coupled with a balloon that helps to open your duodenum and check for bleeding.
A thin, flexible tube with a light and camera attached at one end is inserted into your rectum to find the cause of the gastrointestinal bleeding. A biopsy may be required if samples were taken from your gastrointestinal tract.
A tracer will be given to you intravenously; it will light up during the x-ray and help to pinpoint the source of your bleeding.
You will have to swallow a pill that contains a small camera which will then take pictures of your gastrointestinal tract as it moves through it.
A CT-scan is similar to an x-ray but with clearer and more accurate details.
A tracer is given to you intravenously which can show the performance of red blood cells in your body.
Most of the time, gastrointestinal bleeding is not permanent and can stop on its own. However, if it is a chronic condition, then treatment will depend on the site and cause of bleeding.
Some treatment options include: