Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

Vomiting blood (esophageal varices)

Bleeding from the esophagus (food tube) may cause one to vomit blood and/or to have bloody, runny, black bowel movements.

Cause

Blood going through a damaged liver may back up into the veins (varices) in the stomach and esophagus, causing these veins to enlarge. Sometimes this swelling will cause the veins to bleed (hemorrhage). Bleeding of the esophageal varices is linked to cirrhosis and liver failure.

Treatment

  • You may be prescribed antibiotics or a medication that constricts the varices.
  • Endoscopic surgery may be used to tie up the bleeding varices.
  • In an emergency situation, doctors will use a device called TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) to control bleeding. Recent research recommends TIPS be considered early if a person is at risk for not responding to the above-mentioned standard treatments.

Tips

See your healthcare provider if you experience any of the above symptoms.