Throwing up black stuff: 6 Causes, Diagnosis, 10+ Treatments

Throwing up black stuff is an indication of blood clots in vomit. This condition is known as hematemesis. The colour of the vomit may vary from brown, bright red to black. This colour variation depends on how long the blood has been in your gastrointestinal system.

While having black specks in vomit, you might experience other symptoms which include severe abdominal pains, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness and, fainting.

Vomiting black stuff is a serious condition. In case you notice throwing black stuff, and you are sure it is not as a result of what you have eaten kindly seek medical attention at ones. The causes of black specks in vomit may be fatal.

In this article, I am going to focus on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of black specks in vomit.

Causes of throwing up black stuff:

throwing up black stuff
Throwing up black stuff
Image source: healthhype.com
  1. Gastrointestinal bleeding

In most cases throwing up black stuff is as a result of bleeding of the digestive system. Gastrointestinal bleeding is also known as gastrointestinal haemorrhage. Gastrointestinal bleeding involves all bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract that is from the mouth to the rectum.

Gastrointestinal bleeding is a symptom of other diseases which include peptic ulcers, liver cirrhosis, cancer, haemorrhoids and, inflammatory bowel disease.

An example is when blood leaks in the stomach and finally raptures there will be a significant amount of bleeding that is accompanied by throwing up black stuff which in this case is a blood clot.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding:
  • Throwing up black stuff
  • Dizziness,
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal pains Shortness of breath
  1. Peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers are painful open sores that form on the lining of your stomach and small intestine. Common causes of peptic ulcers include erosion of intestinal and stomach walls by acids present in the digestive system, H. pylori bacteria and, regular use of some painkillers an example being aspirin.

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Symptoms of peptic ulcers:
  • Throwing up black stuff
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Belching
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  1. Oesophagal varices

Oesophagal varices is a condition caused by rapture and bleeding of swollen veins in the lining of the oesophagus. Rupture and bleeding of swollen veins result in the formation of blood clots and blockage of veins.

Oesophagal varices are common in people with liver cirrhosis.

Symptoms of oesophagal varices:
  • Vomiting black stuff
  • Black stool
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Unconsciousness (if not controlled early)
  1. Liver disease

Another cause of throwing up black stuff is liver disease. In this case liver cirrhosis which involves the scarring of the liver tissues caused by various liver diseases and also the continuous use of alcohol. Scaring of the liver tissues causes blood vessels to swell and might end up bursting.

Symptoms of liver cirrhosis:
  • Throwing up black stuff
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Swellings in your legs
  • Loss of weight
  • Bruising and bleeding easily
  • Jaundice
  1. Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a sort of viral disease transmitted by a specific type of mosquito mostly found in tropical regions.

Mild symptoms:

In the early stages noticeable symptoms include;

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches

However, as it worsens yellow fever causes kidney disease, liver disease and, heart disease.

 Severe symptoms of yellow fever:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Recurring fever
  • Throwing up black stuff
  • Blood in stool
  • A severe headache
  1. Kidney disease

When one is suffering from kidney disease, one of the symptoms likely to be experienced is throwing up black stuff. The black stuff refers to blood. Nausea and vomiting of blood are common in stage 5 of kidney disease.

Symptoms of kidney disease:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting blood
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle cramps

For proper diagnosis, it is essential to identify the underlying cause of black specks in vomit.

Diagnosis of throwing up black stuff:

  1. Gastrointestinal bleeding

If the doctor suspects possible gastrointestinal bleeding initial investigations include endoscopy and colonoscopy which will help identify the cause of the bleeding giving a directive on the medication to give.

  1. Peptic ulcers
  • Endoscopy

Endoscopy involves a doctor passing a tube equipped with an endoscope down your throat into the esophagus. The small camera at the end of the endoscope helps the doctor view the walls of the esophagus, colon, and small intestine.

In case your doctor identifies sores on the walls sample tissues will be removed for further lab investigation.

  • Laboratory tests for H. pylori

Tests for H. pylori may be carried out before or after endoscopy depending on your doctor. The test is carried out using blood, stool or breath which is the most accurate.

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In a breath test, you take a fluid, food or a pill that contains carbon. Once the solution breaks down your body absorbs the carbon. You then exhale in a bag that holds special devices to detect the presence of carbon molecules.

  • Upper gastrointestinal test

This test involves some x-rays on your upper digestive system. You are required to take in fluoroscopy or a fluid containing barium that helps produce clear images during the x-ray. From the x-rays, your doctor can identify ulcers if present.

  1. Varices of Esophagus
  • Endoscopy

One way to diagnose esophageal varices is through endoscopy. The aim of endoscopy, in this case, will be to identify possible inflammation of the blood vessels and possible bleeding.

  • Imaging by MRI or CT scan

To diagnose esophageal varices, you can take an MRI or a CT scan. These scans will help identify any irregularities in the esophagus, liver and, the portal.

  1. Liver disease
  • MRI and CT scan

Carrying out an MRI or a CT scan of the abdomen enlarged spleen, fluid in the stomach or enlarged liver which are symptoms of liver cirrhosis.

  • Biopsy

Your doctor may find a need to carry out biopsy which will help him determine the severity of the liver damage

  1. Yellow fever

The two main ways in which your doctor will diagnose yellow fever is by carrying out a blood test and by enquiring from you your latest travel patterns.

  1. Kidney disease

To diagnose kidney disease, a couple of tests that are to be carried out.

  • Blood test

Blood tests check for urea and creatinine in your blood.

  • Urine tests

Urine test helps identify kidney failure and the possible causes.

  • MRI and CT scans

Imaging is used to determine any possible changes in the size of the kidney

Throwing up black stuff is problematic. The good news is that it can be treated.

Treatment for throwing up black stuff:

For you to successfully treat throwing up black thing, you should start by addressing the primary cause of the black specks in vomit.

  1. Gastrointestinal

Once the cause of throwing up black stuff is ascertained to digestive acid, you may be given a prescription, and in severe cases, you are advised to undertake surgery

  1. Peptic ulcers
  • Antibiotic medication to kill H. pylori

To kill H. pylori present in your digestive system your doctor may recommend antibiotics alongside other medicines that will help reduce your stomach acid.

  • Antacids that neutralize stomach acids

Peptic ulcers are as a result of stomach acids eroding the stomach walls. To treat this, your doctor may require you to take antacids that will help ease pain and neutralize your stomach acids.

  1. Varices of Esophagus

To treat esophageal varices, you need to prevent liver damage, excessive bleeding in the varices and, bleeding control. You can do this by:

  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Adopting a healthy diet
  • Using beta blockers to lower blood pressure in the portal veins
  • Variceal ligation. This procedure helps control bleeding
  • Tran- jugular intrahepatic portal system shunting reduces pressure in the liver thus reducing the risk of bleeding.
  1. Liver disease (liver cirrhosis)
  • Treatment of alcohol addiction

Those with an alcohol addiction should go to rehabilitation centers so that this condition can is treatable.

  • Weight management

If you are suffering from liver cirrhosis, you need to keep your weight in check. Weight management is essential for those whose liver cirrhosis is caused by the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

  • Medication to manage hepatitis

By managing hepatitis which is a virus that contributes to liver cirrhosis you reduce the risk of further liver damage.

  1. Yellow fever

There is no known treatment options for yellow fever; as a result, treatment given to the patient is for easing the symptoms that come with the virus. To treat yellow fever, you need supportive care offered in the hospital. It includes:

  • Kidney dialysis
  • Oxygen administration
  • Blood transfusion
  • Providing fluids to curb dehydration
  • Controlling blood pressure
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Preventive measures for yellow fever:
  • Avoid aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications.
  1. Kidney disease

There is no treatment available for chronic kidney disease. However, a kidney disease patient is given medicine to control and manage the symptoms.

  • Blood pollution therapy

This a natural treatment method that flushes out toxins from your blood restores your kidney function and revives strength strengthens your kidneys.

  • Medication to manage high blood pressure

High blood pressure is a trigger for kidney failure. To lower your blood pressure, your doctor will prescribe for you necessary medication.

  • Dialysis

Dialysis helps remove extra toxins and fluids from your blood on behalf of the kidney.

  • Kidney transplant

A kidney transplant involves surgical replacement of your kidney. Once you get an implant, you are sentenced to lifetime medication to keep your body from rejecting the new organ.

When should you visit a doctor?

If black specks in your vomit are as a result of other conditions other than dietary issues, visit your doctor immediately you notice black staff in your vomit.

References:
  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/coffee-ground-vomitus#diagnos
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/yellow_fever/article.htm#is_it_possible_to_prevent_yellow_fever
  3. https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/what-are-the-causes-of-black-acidic-vomit-12535684.html
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354527

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