Vomiting blood (hematemesis) refers to significant amounts of blood in your vomit. Small streaks or flecks of blood in material you spit up may come from the teeth, mouth or throat and isn't usually considered vomiting blood. Blood in vomit may be bright red, or it may appear black or dark brown like coffee grounds.
Swallowed blood, as from a nosebleed or forceful coughing, may cause bloody vomit, but truly vomiting blood usually represents something more serious and requires immediate medical attention. Bleeding in your upper gastrointestinal tract (mouth, esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine) from peptic ulcers or torn blood vessels is a common cause of vomiting blood.
Call 911 or your local emergency number if vomiting blood causes dizziness after standing, rapid, shallow breathing or other signs of shock.
Sept. 03, 2014
- Bleeding in the digestive tract. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/bleeding/index.htm. Accessed July 29, 2014.
- Rockey DC. Major causes of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 29, 2014.
- Villa X. Approach to upper gastrointestinal bleeding in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 29, 2014.
- Rockey DC. Uncommon causes of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 29, 2014.