Anemia|GI Bleeding

Condition

Anemia or a low hemoglobin or blood count can be from numerous conditions affecting the body. One of the most common causes is due to bleeding from the digestive tract. Other causes include inadequate intake of iron, malabsorption of iron from the digestive tract, ulcers, infection, cancer, or autoimmune conditions. Still other causes include bone marrow problems, liver problems, and kidney diseases.

Symptoms

If a patient’s anemia is mild, he or she often does not have symptoms. Common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, lack of interest, dark colored (black) bowel movements or blood noted in bowel movements. Still other symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, or diarrhea. If the anemia is severe, patients may develop chest pain or shortness of breath or even pass out.

Diagnostic Labs

Blood work confirms a low hemoglobin. Iron studies and ferritin levels can be checked to determine the type of anemia. Furthermore, blood work can be performed to check for signs of inflammation in the body or cancer.
Stool tests can be performed to determine if a patient is losing blood from the digestive tract (stool occult blood test)

Other Tests

Since the digestive tract is one of the most common causes of anemia or bleeding, usually an endoscopy and colonoscopy are performed. The GI specialists are able to pinpoint if the digestive tract is involved in the patient’s anemia. If endoscopy and colonoscopy are unrevealing, a patient may also have a pill-camera evaluation of the entire small intestine which can not be reached by standard endoscopy and colonoscopy scopes. In this test, the patient wears a recorder and a pill with an embedded micro-camera is swallowed and takes pictures throughout the small intestine.

Treatment

Treatment for anemia and bleeding is targeted to the cause. Our specialists are skilled in quickly making the correct diagnosis and offer treatments that are specific and personalized to the individual’s condition to help patients live longer and improve their quality of life.

Patient Education

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