Internal Bleeding

Internal Bleeding: Overview

Alternative Names: Abdominal Bleeding, Intra-abdominal Bleeding

This is a very serious condition involving bleeding at some site within the abdomen.  The most common causes are trauma to the abdomen and disease.

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Abdominal bleeding is treated as a medical emergency because it indicates a serious underlying medical condition.

Causes and Development

Causes include ruptured blood vessels and organs, tumors, and ulcers.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include abdominal pain and tenderness, as well as abdominal distention and rigidity.  Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, and possibly excretion or vomiting of blood.  Severe bleeding can cause the patient to go into a state of shock (confusion, chills, lethargy, and eventually unconsciousness.)

Diagnosis and Tests

The first step is to confirm that internal bleeding is occurring.  This is achieved with medical imaging and other tests.  Once confirmed, surgery may then be performed in order to locate the source of the bleeding.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment is initially aimed at stabilizing the patient: Abdominal bleeding requires prompt medical attention, with the patient usually ending up in surgery until the source of the bleeding can be identified and stopped.

If bleeding is caused by a ruptured blood vessel, a surgeon may be able to correct the problem relatively quickly.  A ruptured artery or organ poses more of a problem.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Internal Bleeding:

Symptoms - Abdomen

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Conditions that suggest Internal Bleeding:

Lab Values

Internal Bleeding can lead to:

Lab Values

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Health problems rarely occur in isolation or for obvious reasons

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Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may suggest
Strong or generally accepted link: often leads to
Strong or generally accepted link:
often leads to