Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding refers to the infection of the digestive system. It is characterized by the appearance of blood in the excretion materials such as feces and unseen vomit. This disease may also cause the stool to appear blackish (Fukami N, 2012). The level of bleeding ranges from low, severe to life-threatening levels. Imaging technology is always used during the diagnosis process. This is done to locate what is causing the bleeding. This location of the cause of bleeding helps determine the appropriate treatment method that can be used during the treatment process.

Etiology of GI bleeding.

This disease occurs in the lower and upper parts of the gastrointestinal tract; therefore, the causes are categorized according to the infection location. The following factors cause the disease.

Causes of Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

Abnormal enlargement of the veins in the oesophageal linings; this is also referred to as oesophageal varices. The condition is caused more often among people that have serious liver infections. Esophagitis. A condition refers to the inflammation that occurs in the esophagus (Fisher. D, 2012). Gastroesophageal reflux diseases usually cause them. Peptic ulcers are most common in the upper gastrointestinal tracts, thus cause bleeding in that area. They refer to the sores that develop on the stomach’s linings and the small intestine’s upperparts. Acids found in the stomach come from both the bacteria or the excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs that damage the stomach wall linings. These results in the formation of sores in the stomach.

Tears that form in the inner tubule lining at the throat’s junction and the stomach also causes bleeding. These kinds of upper GI bleeding occur in people that are addicted to alcoholic drinks such as ethanol.

Causes of Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

Small tears found in the lining of the anus causes a condition referred to as anal fissures that result in lower gastrointestinal bleeding (Appalaneni, V, 2010). The inflammation as well causes lower GI bleeding on the lining of the rectum. This leads to rectal bleeding, a condition referred to as proctitis. Swollen veins in the anal area or lower rectum and varicose veins lead to hemorrhoids, a condition that leads to lower GI bleeding. Cancerous tumours that occur in the esophagus, the colon, stomach, or rectum lead to the weakening of the digestive tract walls, which leads to bleeding. Another cause of lower GI bleeding is bowel inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease (Jensen, D. M, 2013). These refer to the ulcerative colitis that causes inflammation and sores in the large intestines and inflammation of the digestive tract linings.

Diverticular diseases; the development of small and bulging pouches found in the digestive system wall linings. Lastly, several small clumps of cells found in the large intestine lining cause bleeding (Ghassemi, K, 2013). Most of these clumps of cells do not cause harm, but they can be cancerous if they are removed from the body through surgery.

Some of the complications associated with gastrointestinal bleeding include; shock, anemia, and eventually, death may occur if not treated.

 

Prevention of Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

The following preventative measures can be taken to manage and control gastrointestinal bleeding: Special dietary is recommended, small meals are preferred, avoid caffeine, and have many spices. Foods that cause heartburn and nausea are also discouraged. The patient is always encouraged to put on elastic stockings, which prevents blood clots in the legs. The patient is kept on (nil per os) NPO. This helps them decrease the risks of further aggravation of the bleeding. This will be required during an endoscopy that requires sedation and intravenous accessibility (Chandrasekhara, 2012). Lastly, the patient is advised to refrain from taking Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to increase GI bleeding chances. Avoid smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages; alcohol increases the chances of contracting oesophageal varices that increase pressure on the esophagus blood vessels, leading to GI bleeding.

Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

After the patient has reported to the clinic, the doctor in charge will check on her/ his medical history records in case of any previous underlying conditions of bleeding.

The following diagnostic tests can be carried out on the patient.

Blood tests to determine the blood count of the patient. This may also entail determining the presence of blood clot and liver tests to review their functionality level (Balm. R, 2010). The patient’s stool may be collected for analysis; this helps the doctor determine the occurrence of occult bleeding on the patient’s excretory materials. A tube may be passed through the patient’s nose into his/her stomach to remove the contents of the stomach. This helps the doctor to observe the cause and source of bleeding.

A procedure that uses a camera and a long tube may be carried out; this entails using a camera to examine the upper gastrointestinal wall lining (Sorbi, 2010). Endoscopy is another diagnostic procedure that is done. This includes; upper endoscopy, flexible endoscopy, colposcopy or capsule endoscopy. These involve the use of tiny cameras o examine the rectal and digestive walls to determine the size of vitamin molecules in the small intestines and determine the source of bleeding in the intestines.

Imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRIs or abdominal ultrasounds may be used to locate the source of bleeding. In severe cases where the non-invasive tests cannot find the bleeding source, the patient may undergo surgery where the doctor examines the whole intestinal cavity (Zinsmeister, 2010). Lastly, a contrast dye may also be injected in the artery and X-rays done to look at the bleeding blood vessels and check for other body abnormalities.

Treatment of Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

Gastrointestinal bleeding stops on its own. However, treatment procedures depend on the source of bleeding. Medication to control the bleeding may be done upon undergoing diagnostic tests; for instance, during the treatment of peptic ulcers, upper endoscopy may be done, or polyps may be removed under colonoscopy (Strate, L. L. 2015). Proton pump inhibitor drug may be administered in the case where upper gastrointestinal bleeding has been diagnosed. This drug is administered to suppress the production of too many acids in the stomach. This decision is always made after the doctor has determined the source of bleeding.

Blood transfusions or injection of fluids through needle iv may be done to a patient if he/she continues to lose a considerable amount of blood, and the patient will be required to stop using blood-thinning medicines such as aspirin and nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

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