Definition & Facts of GI Bleeding

In this section:

What is GI bleeding?

Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is any type of bleeding that starts in your GI tract, also called your digestive tract. GI bleeding is a symptom of a disease or condition, rather than a disease or condition itself.

Acute GI bleeding is sudden and can sometimes be severe. Chronic GI bleeding is slight bleeding that can last a long time or may come and go.

Learn more about your digestive system and how it works.

Does GI bleeding have another name?

GI bleeding is also called bleeding in the digestive tract, upper GI bleeding, or lower GI bleeding. The upper GI tract and lower GI tract are different areas of your GI tract.

How common is GI bleeding?

Every year, about 100,000 people in the United States go to the hospital for upper GI bleeding.1 About 20 to 33 percent of GI bleeding episodes in Western countries are in the lower GI tract.2

Who is more likely to have GI bleeding?

Men are twice as likely as women to have upper GI bleeding.3

A health care professional speaks with a male patient while taking his medical history.Men are twice as likely as women to have upper GI bleeding.


Last Reviewed July 2016
Share this page
Facebook X Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Reddit Pinterest

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.