What Is a Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleed?

Gastrointestinal bleeding occurs in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach, esophagus, small and large intestines, rectum or anus, according to MedlinePlus. The bleeding can be the result of hemorrhoids, colitis or Crohn's disease.

Other causes of GI bleeding include peptic ulcers, colorectal polyps and colon or stomach cancer. Veins that bleed in the esophagus can cause GI bleeding; this condition requires immediate medical attention, explains Healthline. Gastrointestinal bleeding can also occur in the upper or lower GI tract. Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding can be severe and include bloody stool or vomit, states Mayo Clinic. Although the amount of bleeding can vary over time, complications from loss of large amounts of blood can result in anemia.

A fecal occult blood test can determine if a patient is experiencing GI bleeding, especially if there are no apparent symptoms, adds MedlinePlus. Treatments are administered depending on the severity of the bleeding and the symptoms that are present. A small camera during a procedure known as a esophagogastroduodenoscopy is inserted into the GI tract to investigate the cause of the bleeding and the stomach may be pumped. Patients who lose a significant amount of blood may need blood transfusions to restore normal blood counts.