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Vomiting blood

A symptom of bleeding from within the digestive tract. The vomiting of blood can be the result of a tear in the lower oesophagus, bleeding from oesophageal varices (enlarged veins in the oesophagus), erosive gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), a peptic ulcer, or, hardly ever, stomach cancer. An individual can also vomit blood if the blood is swallowed during a nosebleed.

Vomiting blood can be brown, black or dark red, or it can resemble coffee grounds. Vomiting of blood is often accompanied by the passing of tarry black faeces.

The cause of vomiting blood is investigated by endoscopy (examination using a viewing instrument) of the stomach and oesophagus, or by barium x-ray examinations. If blood loss is extreme, a blood transfusion, and possible surgery may be required to stop the bleeding.


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