What Does It Mean if You Vomit Blood?

Cirrhosis, gastritis, poor diet, or esophageal varices can cause a person to vomit blood. Learn more in the following article.
What Does It Mean if You Vomit Blood?

Last update: 16 March, 2022

Vomiting blood can have various causes. For example, it can occur as a result of an injury to the mouth, trauma, disease, and so on. If the person experiencing vomiting has been diagnosed with a disease, they should be seen immediately by a physician to avoid complications. For this reason, in many cases, if you vomit blood, it’s considered an emergency.

The amount of blood and frequency of regurgitations will depend on the cause of the problem. The blood may have different color characteristics. In some cases, it will be bright red and in others, it may be darker (brown to black). In any case, only a physician can provide the diagnosis and the respective appropriate approach.

Under no circumstances should you go without medical help or to resort to self-medication. It’s best to go to the emergency room.

What can cause someone to vomit blood?

There are many causes that can cause a person to vomit blood. However, among the most common are the following, which we’ll discuss below.

1. Dehydration

Dehydration can cause a patient to vomit blood. Since the body is deprived of the lubrication provided by water, among other things, it experiences excessive pressure on all systems and is, therefore, more likely to be injured. As a result, when vomiting, bile may be accompanied by blood.

2. Hunger or poor diet

An empty stomach can make you feel sick and cause you to vomit blood. It may sound strange, but if you don’t eat enough, the body rebels by vomiting. Similarly, a lack of a balanced diet can lead to this as well. Ingestion of rancid or toxic foods during pregnancy can also be a cause of blood in vomit.

A woman sitting on the edge of her bed feeling nauseous.

3. Esophageal varices

Another cause of vomiting blood is esophageal varices. These are enlarged veins in the walls of the lower esophagus that bleed, but usually don’t cause any pain. They are often caused by alcoholic liver disease. If your doctor suspects that esophageal varices are the cause of the blood in your vomit, you should be admitted to the hospital immediately.

4. Gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach that causes harmful bacteria to infect the inner lining of the stomach. This disorder eventually appears with excessive vomiting of blood, accompanied by abdominal pain and weakness.

5. Cirrhosis

Finally, cirrhosis is due to persistent alcohol consumption and leads to spikes in blood pressure. Blood vessels begin to dilate, which affects the esophagus, and internal blood vessels become prone to rupture. Symptoms of cirrhosis include vomiting huge amounts of bright red blood and, again, weakness.

When children vomit blood

When children vomit blood, it’s imperative that they see a pediatrician as soon as possible. Otherwise, the child’s health could be put at risk and lead to a greater number of complications (and also of greater intensity). Therefore, once they’re detected, they shouldn’t be overlooked.

It’s important that parents take into account the frequency of vomiting and all its characteristics in order to be able to inform the pediatrician in greater detail; the data will allow them to reach a more accurate diagnosis, once they’ve made their respective evaluation.

Some questions the doctor may ask are: When did the vomiting of blood begin? What color is the blood and how much is there in the vomit? What other symptoms does the child have? Do they have any chronic illnesses? Are they taking any type of medication? Did they have an accident? Have they ingested anything bad or poisonous?

Symptoms in children

Before the vomiting of blood occurs, your child may experience certain symptoms, such as paleness, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, and irritability. Excessive sweating, nausea, fever, and even diarrhea (acute to severe) may also be present.

A preteen girl feeling nauseous.

What to do about it?

While going to the emergency room or waiting for the pediatrician’s assistance, it’s essential that you avoid resorting to medication. Nor should the child be forced to drink liquids, not even water. Because the cause of the problem is unknown, you don’t know how wise it may be to take such measures (however simple they may seem).

Once the professional’s diagnosis has been made, you’ll need to follow each and every one of their instructions in order to restore the child’s health. During the recovery phase, the doctor will indicate how diet, hydration, and other aspects of daily life should be carried out.

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.