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What is Abdominal Bleeding?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Abdominal bleeding is a serious medical condition characterized by a site of bleeding in the abdomen. It can be caused by a number of things, from disease to trauma to the abdomen. This medical condition requires prompt intervention, with the patient usually ending up in surgery so that the source of the bleeding can be identified and addressed. It is an especially common concern in the wake of a major trauma such as a car accident.

The symptoms of abdominal bleeding can vary. Pain and tenderness in the abdomen are common, along with distention and rigidity. The patient may experience nausea and vomiting, and may excrete or vomit blood. If the bleed is severe, the patient may go into shock, a state characterized by confusion, chills, lethargy, and eventual unconsciousness.

Ruptured blood vessels and organs can cause abdominal bleeding, as can tumors, ulcers, and other health problems. In all cases, the medical team usually responds by stabilizing the patient and using medical imaging and tests to confirm that bleeding is occurring in the abdomen. Once the bleeding has been diagnosed, the patient can be taken into surgery so that the abdomen can be opened up for the purpose of identifying the cause of the bleed.

This condition can be a precursor to peritonitis or other medical problems, which is why prompt treatment is critical. If the source of a bleed is something like a ruptured blood vessel, a surgeon may be able to correct the problem and stabilize the patient quickly. Ruptured arteries and organs will require more extensive surgical repairs, and the surgery can be complicated by the fact that the patient's body has often gone into shock as a result of the bleeding and blood loss. Substantial blood transfusions may be needed during and after the surgery to address the blood loss.

As a general rule, abdominal bleeding is treated as a medical emergency, because it can indicate a serious underlying medical condition, and it may lead to medical complications which will be difficult to treat. People with symptoms like severe abdominal tenderness and blood-streaked vomit should definitely seek medical attention as quickly as possible, especially if they have experienced an abdominal trauma. The trauma does not necessarily have to be severe; a relatively light blow in the wrong area of the abdomen or the lower back can cause catastrophic abdominal bleeding.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By FirstViolin — On Jul 30, 2010

Other perhaps rarer symptoms of internal or abdominal bleeding include back pain, constipation, blood in the stools, and in some cases, rectal pain.

By musicshaman — On Jul 30, 2010

One of the most deadly causes of abdominal bleeding is aortic aneurysm.

Characterized by back and upper abdominal pain, this causes the patient's heart to swell, occasionally breaking through the muscle wall to push blood into the surrounding tissue.

Aortic aneurysms are extremely dangerous if ruptured, and so should be taken very seriously, as should all other kinds of abdominal bleeding.

If you begin to experience any of the common abdominal bleeding symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately.

By Charlie89 — On Jul 30, 2010

Internal bleeding of the abdomen is indeed very serious, if for nothing else than because of all the major organs located there.

I can't state it enough, anybody with abdominal pain and bleeding must see a doctor as soon as possible.

By anon34304 — On Jun 20, 2009

thank you, for this important article,

i would like to ask about the management strategy in Intraperitoneal hemorrhage, cosrcative surgical intervention, when?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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