What Are Shock Symptoms?
It’s important to seek medical treatment ASAP if you have signs suggesting shock. This is what can happen if GI bleeding is sudden and progressing rapidly. Should this happen, you may notice a significant drop in blood pressure, an inability to urinate or difficulty even producing a small amount of urine, and a rapid pulse. Unconsciousness can also occur.
How Is a Diagnosis Made?
Because there are many possible sources of GI bleeding, a GI doctor typically performs an assortment of tests. The specific tests done will be based on your symptoms and medical history and results from an initial exam. Blood and stool tests are often necessary. Image-related tests may involve an upper endoscopy performed with a special lighted tube and a camera, a similar procedure called a flexible sigmoidoscopy, and a colonoscopy. Parts of the GI tract not accessible with a standard endoscopy may be evaluated with a balloon-assisted enteroscopy.
What Are Treatment Options?
In some instances, GI bleeding goes away on its own. Other times, medication is sometimes necessary to control the bleeding. A proton pump inhibitor (PPI) might be used to minimize stomach acid production that may be contributing to bleeding in the upper GI tract. Additional procedures or treatments may be necessary — e.g., hemorrhoid repair surgery — if there are underlying issues causing the bleeding. If blood loss is severe, a transfusion may be needed.
Gastrointestinal bleeding isn’t always preventable. However, you may be less likely to need to see a GI doctor for this issue if you minimize your use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs since a common side effect of long-term NSAID use is GI bleeding. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also lead to GI bleeding, so managing this condition could prevent a bleeding issues from developing, as could limiting your consumption of alcohol and avoiding the use of tobacco products.