The gastrointestinal tract, also known as the GI tract is one of the most important parts of the digestive system in the human body. The organs that make up the GI tract include the esophagus, small intestine with duodenum, stomach, colon/large intestine, the rectum and finally the anus. When gastrointestinal bleeding is mentioned, it means that it can happen from any of the organs mentioned above. There are many causes of gastrointestinal bleeding. When the bleeding takes place from the stomach, esophagus or duodenum, it is regarded as upper GI bleeding. When bleeding takes place from large intestine, lower part of small intestine, anus or rectum, it is considered as lower GI bleeding.
What are The Probable Causes Of Gastrointestinal Bleeding?
When you face gastrointestinal bleeding, it is recommended not to neglect the problem and see and ask a gastroenterologist at once. There are many factors that contribute to the problem of bleeding in the GI tract.
- Ulcers are the most common causes of gastrointestinal bleeding. This problem is more common in the upper GI tract. The issue of ulceration is mainly seen in the stomach lining, the duodenum (immediately beyond the stomach) and in the esophagus. Esophageal varices, is usually the result of some kind of underlying liver disease which is chronic like cirrhosis etc. and in such instances, the chances of intestinal bleeding are quite high. In case of retching or repeated vomiting, tear occurs at the juncture of the stomach and the esophagus. Bleeding in the upper GI tract is also caused with cancers and tumors in the areas.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding can also take place from the lower GI tract. When bleeding occurs from colon, it is termed as diverticulosis. When records were searched, it was found that majority of cases of lower GI tract bleeding could be attributed to diverticulosis. Other than this, there are chances of angiodysplasia. In this, the tiny blood vessel lining the colon can ooze chronically or bleed briskly. Colon polyps or colon cancer can also be the cause of lower GI tract bleeding. Colitis has also seen to be among the major causes of gastrointestinal bleeding. Colitis is caused due to ulceration or inflammation in the colon lining. There are many factors that contribute to colitis including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, poor circulation in the colon, radiation therapy etc.
- Hemorrhoids and anal fissures can also be a reason for gastrointestinal bleeding. These are swollen and enlarged blood vessels, which are located at the lower part of the rectum and anus. With increased pressure, the blood vessels swell up and the problem aggravates while passing a stool. You must ask a doctor if you feel that you might suffer from the problem of hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
If you spot blood in a stool or feel irritation and other sensations in the upper or lower GI tract, you must not ignore the same and visit a gastroenterologist immediately. There might be many causes of gastrointestinal bleeding and a medical professional is the best person to diagnose the same.