Causes of  Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleeding

The causes of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding are classified into upper or lower, depending on their location in the GI tract. GI bleeding may be silent or occult or present with obvious signs of bleeding such as dark or black stool or bright red blood per rectum. Typically, dark or black stool indicates bleeding from the upper GI tract and bright red blood per rectum indicates bleeding from the lower GI tract.

Upper GI Bleeding

Upper GI bleeding originates in the upper GI tract that includes the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (first part of the small intestine). Most often, upper GI bleeding is caused by: peptic ulcers of the stomach or duodenum; esophagitis; gastritis; esophageal varices related to liver disease; Mallory-Weiss tears of the lower esophagus; and GI cancers.

Lower GI Bleeding

Lower GI bleeding originates in the portions of the GI tract farther down the digestive system that includes parts of the small intestine beyond the duodenum, large intestine, and anorectum. The most common causes of lower GI bleeding include: diverticular diseasee; GI cancers; Inflammatory bowel disease; infectious diarrhea; polyps; hemorrhoids; and anal fissures.

Silent or occult GI Bleeding

Silent or occult GI bleeding is often suspected because of an anemia (low blood count) or is diagnosed by checking stool for microscopic blood as part of an annual physical exam.

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The board-certified physicians at San Francisco Gastroenterology are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the digestive tract, including difficulty swallowing (Dysphagia). Our doctors serve from Marin County, Oakland, Berkeley, Palo Alto and the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Our goal is simply to provide the highest quality medical care and patient service possible.

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