Causes of spitting up blood include gastrointestinal disorders such as mouth ulcers, esophagitis, gingivitis and gastritis and nongastrointestinal conditions such as congestive heart failure, tuberculosis, pneumonia and nose bleeding, according to Healthgrades. Tooth extraction, pneumothorax and bronchitis are other possible causes of spitting up blood. Life-threatening conditions such as pulmonary edema, in which fluid accumulates in the lung air sacs, and cancer in the lungs, esophagus or stomach may also cause a patient to spit up blood.
A patient should visit a doctor immediately when spitting up blood to ensure early diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause, notes Healthgrades. Early diagnosis and treatment help to prevent possible complications such as the spread of cancer or infection, low red blood cell count and shock. To diagnose the underlying cause of spitting up blood, a doctor may ask the patient about when the condition first appeared and other symptoms. After diagnosing the cause, the doctor can recommend a suitable treatment plan.
Spitting up blood is a sign of bleeding in the digestive tract or respiratory system, states Healthgrades. The severity of the symptom varies depending on where the bleeding occurs. Other symptoms that may accompany spitting up blood include abdominal pain, bloody stool, vomiting blood, distended stomach, dizziness and diarrhea.