Health Questions and Answers

Question: List the five ways in which gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding presents


  • Hematemesis: vomiting of blood. The blood may be a fresh, bright red in color or like coffee grounds.
  • Melena: black, tarry, foul-smelling stool.
  • Hematochezia: bright red blood per rectum, blood mixed with stool, bloody diarrhea, or clots.
  • Occult GI blood loss: normal-appearing stool that is hemoccult-positive.
  • Symptoms only: syncope, dyspnea, angina, palpitations, or shock.

Reference: Sleisenger MH, Fordtran JS (eds): Gastrointestinal Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management, 7th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2003.

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