Intestinal bleeding is any type of bleeding that starts in the digestive tract. Intestinal bleeding is a symptom of a disease rather than a disease itself. There are two types of bleeding: acute and chronic. Acute bleeding is sudden and sometimes severe. Chronic bleeding is not as severe, but it occurs over a long period of time.
Causes of Intestinal Bleeding
There are numerous causes of intestinal bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract (GI) and the lower GI tract. The upper GI tract includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and the first section of the small intestine (duodenum). Causes of upper GI tract bleeding include:
- Peptic ulcers – sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum
- Esophageal varices – enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus that can leak blood or rupture causing life threatening bleeding
- Mallory-Weiss tear – tears in the lower end of the esophagus caused by vomiting
- Gastritis – a condition in which the lining of the stomach is inflamed. Gastritis is commonly caused by the use of some medications, Crohn’s disease, and other illnesses. If left untreated, gastritis can lead to ulcers in the stomach.
The lower GI tract includes the small intestine, large intestine, colon, rectum, and anal canal. Causes of lower GI tract bleeding include:
- Hemorrhoids – swollen veins around the anus. Constipation causes the veins to swell and results in itching, pain, and sometimes bleeding.
- Fissures – small tears in the anus that can cause bleeding
- Diverticulitis – a condition where small pouches form on and push out from weak spots in the colon wall. Sometimes the pouches burst and cause intestinal bleeding.
- Colitis – inflammation of the colon. Complications of colitis include ulcers that can bleed.
Tumors and cancer located in the digestive tract can cause bleeding in both the upper and lower GI tract.
Symptoms of Intestinal Bleeding
Although signs of intestinal bleeding might seem obvious, not all signs include blood itself. Abdominal cramps, dark or tarry stool, bright red blood in vomit, dizziness, fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, and weakness are all symptoms of intestinal bleeding.
Some symptoms of intestinal bleeding are quite serious. A rapid pulse, drop in blood in blood pressure, little or no urine output, and unconsciousness may signal that the person is in shock.
If you observe these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Intestinal Bleeding
To diagnose intestinal bleeding, your doctor will ask about your family medical history and may run the following tests: upper GI endoscopy; enteroscopy; capsule endoscopy; colonoscopy; flexible sigmoidoscopy; imaging tests; other tests, including blood and stool tests.
Treatment of intestinal bleeding will depend on the cause and location of the bleeding. During an endoscopy or colonoscopy, your doctor can stop bleeding by inserting tools to inject medication into the bleeding site, treat the bleeding site with a laser, or close the affected blood vessels with a clip. Sometimes a surgeon will need to operate if a person has severe bleeding that will not stop.
Prevention of Intestinal Bleeding
Avoiding foods and triggers, such as alcohol and smoking, can prevent intestinal bleeding that lead to increased stomach acid and ulcers. Those who have a history of diverticulitis, anal fissures, and hemorrhoids should follow the diet their health care provider recommends.
Further, avoiding the use of medications such as NSAID’s (aspiring, ibuprofen, naproxen) and blood thinners like Xarelto, if possible, will help prevent intestinal bleeding.
Xarelto and Intestinal Bleeding
Xarelto, generically called rivaroxaban, belongs to the anti-coagulant class of pharmaceuticals. This drug is used as a blood thinner and is meant to prevent occurrences of pulmonary embolism. Xarelto was released by Bayer and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. By 2013, Bayer had made $1.3 billion in sales of the drug and they’re expected to make billions more in the next several years.
Xarelto has become increasingly popular because it does not require patients to be on special diets or have blood tests to determine dosage like warfarin, the traditional blood thinner that’s been on the market for years. Bayer has marketed Xarelto as safe and more convenient that warfarin, but the drug causes serious side effects including intestinal bleeding and cerebral hemorrhaging.
The risk of bleeding is present with all blood thinners; however, Xarelto is more dangerous because it does not have an antidote. People taking warfarin can be treated with vitamin K to stop bleeding, but the same is not true of Xarelto. Since there is no way for to immediately stop bleeding in Xarelto patients, doctors are becoming hesitant to prescribe it.
Because Xarelto can cause uncontrollable bleeding, the FDA has labeled the drug with its most severe warning for dangerous bleeding.
Four years after Xarelto was originally released, Bayer found themselves answering to claims that they failed to warn the public about the drugs dangerous side effects. The first Xarelto lawsuits were filed in 2014.
Two recent Xarelto lawsuits filed in Illinois involve patients who died only one month after starting Xarelto. Both plaintiffs experienced internal bleeding and hemorrhaging, which could not be stopped by traditional means. Their family members are suing on their behalf.
Pharmaceutical companies that rush to get their latest and greatest drugs onto the market without proper research and testing should be held accountable for the lives they destroy.
If you or a loved one has suffered from uncontrolled bleeding, organ damage, brain hemorrhages, or death while taking Xarelto, you may be entitled to reimbursement for your harms and losses. These multinational corporations are not allowed to knowingly place unsuspecting consumers in harms way in the name of profits.
A top 100 Trial Lawyer is standing by to discuss your Xarelto claim. Call us today for FREE to discuss your case. There is NO FEE for our services unless we win. We are here to help by calling 855-55-BAD-DRUG