Vomiting Blood: Causes and Treatments

Can you tell whether vomiting blood is caused by a nose bleed or because of blood in the lungs? Read this article to learn how.
Vomiting Blood: Causes and Treatments

Last update: 18 July, 2019

Vomiting blood is a medical emergency that needs special attention as soon as it’s detected. This is even more urgent during pregnancy because the mother’s life is at risk, as well as the baby’s. In this article, you can learn more about this health issue.

If you’re vomiting blood, you have a very serious problem. Don’t ignore what your body’s telling you – it can put your life at risk. Possible causes for vomiting blood can be dehydration, starvation, malnutrition, high blood pressure, or food poisoning.

Vomiting Blood: Causes and Treatments

What you should know about vomiting blood

The human body isn’t capable of digesting blood. Therefore, when blood reaches the digestive tract and the stomach, it makes you vomit.

Blood may come from the upper digestive tract. This includes the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Besides, vomiting for long periods of time can tear little blood vessels in the throat. This can cause you to vomit blood too.

“Vomiting blood is known as hematemesis.”

When this goes on for a while, it can cause dehydration, decompensation, and even death, if it goes untreated for a long time. Depending on the cause for vomiting blood, these are the most common symptoms:

  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Weakness.
  • Confusion.
  • Nervousness.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Fast heartbeat and breathing.

In children and babies

The causes of hematemesis in children and babies are a lot harder to determine. Therefore, you need to pay attention at all times and seek medical help. However, think of the following.

  • If there are cracks in your nipple, maybe the baby ingested blood through breastmilk.
  • It’s also possible that the child may have hit his nose and the blood went through the digestive tract.
  • If you suspect gastroenteritis, vomiting blood can happen often because of ruptured blood vessels in the esophagus.

It’s worth mentioning that once there’s evidence of blood in the vomit, and other signs of illness, call your doctor or the child’s pediatrician and follow his or her lead. Sometimes, you may have to go to the ER to avoid further, and more serious, issues.

Vomiting Blood: Causes and Treatments

Possible causes of vomiting blood

  • Gastritis.
  • Hemophilia.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Liver problems.
  • Bleeding in the bile ducts.
  • Pulmonary diseases.
  • Diseases of the circulatory system.
  • Stomach, or esophagus, ulcers.
  • Using certain medications like aspirins, anticoagulant drugs, or anti-inflammatories.
  • Lesions and tumors in the mouth, throat, esophagus, or stomach.

“Blood that’s due to nose bleed can go down the throat, to the stomach, and make you vomit with blood.”

Treatments for vomiting blood

Depending on the diagnosis, treatment can consist of medicines, solutions and other intravenous fluids, blood transfusions and, in extreme cases, surgery. The main goal is to stabilize vitals and to compensate your body. In any case, you need to carefully follow the doctor’s indications to fully recover.

If the bleeding’s caused by varicose veins in the esophagus, or by gastric ulcers, you’ll need to take an oesophagoscopy or a gastroscopy. In that very same moment, the specialist will decide if you can start treatment right away. This might mean to close the varicose veins in the esophagus.

Vomiting Blood: Causes and Treatments

In some cases, to control the bleeding, your stomach gets emptied. To do this, a nasogastric tube goes into place, but it’s not recommended if there’s a lot of varicose veins present. Other tests are ultrasounds, endoscopy, radiographs, blood tests, and other tests the Gastroenterologist needs.

As previously said, once there’s blood in the vomit, call the pediatrician at once, because this means there’s a bigger problem that can be avoided. Don’t do anything else without talking with a doctor first.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.