It is likely that you have heard the term “internal bleeding” before, particularly in medical dramas and action movies. Yet, if you find yourself wondering what exactly internal bleeding is, what some of the internal bleeding stomach symptoms are, and what causes it, you are not alone. Unless you have experienced it firsthand, internal bleeding can be an abstract and frightening concept that may lead you to wonder how you will know if you or a loved one bleeding internally.
Internal bleeding (or hemorrhaging) is bleeding that occurs inside the body when a blood vessel is damaged. Often caused by trauma, internal bleeding causes blood to pool inside the body rather than bleeding out through a cut or wound, which can make it difficult to diagnose. However, if untreated, internal bleeding can be fatal, making it important that those who believe they may have internal bleeding seek immediate medical attention.
Keep reading to learn more about the causes, signs, and internal bleeding stomach symptoms and how you will know if your symptoms require medical care.
Why might someone experience internal bleeding? The most common cause of internal bleeding is trauma to the body, such as what one might experience during a car accident or a bad fall. A traumatic accident or injury can apply excessive force to internal blood vessels that can cause them to tear and bleed. Internal bleeding can happen in any part of the body including the chest, abdomen, and head.
However, a traumatic injury is not the only reason why someone may experience internal bleeding, as certain diseases and conditions may leave one vulnerable to hemorrhaging. Common causes of internal bleeding include:
– Bleeding following a surgery or procedure
– Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions (such as gastroenteritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, gastritis, or peptic ulcers)
– Aortic aneurysms and dissections
– Stroke or bleeding in the brain
– Broken bones
– Diabetes or uncontrolled blood sugar levels
– Chronic/excessive use of alcohol
– Certain cancers
– Blood thinners (like aspirin or Warfarin)
– Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil)
– Chronic high blood pressure (which can weaken blood cells)
– Or ectopic pregnancy
One of the primary dangers of hemorrhaging is that, since the bleeding is not visible, internal bleeding may go undetected for some time. This makes it critical that you are aware of the signs that can indicate internal bleeding. While the most common symptom of internal bleeding is severe pain, the signs of internal bleeding can vary depending on where in the body the bleeding is taking place.
– Severe, sudden headache
– Confusion or lethargy
– Repeated vomiting
– Changes in vision or speech
– Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
– Tingling in the hands and feet
– Difficulty swallowing or chewing
– Changes in vision or hearing
– Loss of balance/coordination
– Difficulty concentrating
– Loss of consciousness
– Abdominal pain
– Shortness of breath
– Chest pain
– Bruising around your navel or on the sides of your abdomen
– Blood in urine
– Black, tarry stools
– Or coughing up blood
In addition to these location-specific internal bleeding stomach symptoms, significant blood loss caused by internal bleeding can cause general symptoms including:
– Fast heart rate (over 100 beats per minute)
– Dizziness upon standing
– Low blood pressure
– Fast breathing
– Severe weakness/fatigue
– Sweaty skin
– Anxiety, confusion, or sleepiness
These symptoms often indicate severe blood loss, and they could even be a sign that your body is going into shock. Shock is a medical emergency that occurs when the tissues in your body can’t get enough blood and oxygen. If you experience these symptoms and you have reason to believe that you may be experiencing internal bleeding, it is critical that you seek immediate medical attention.
The primary goal of treating internal bleeding is to find the source of the bleeding and stop it. In some cases where the bleeding is minor, treatment may simply involve rest and hydration, as the hemorrhage may repair itself. Typically, a clot will develop that limits bleeding while the blood vessel repairs itself, and the surrounding tissues will absorb any excess blood over time. Doctors may also decide to give you medications meant to encourage clotting and slow the bleeding. However, severe cases may require serious medical intervention including blood transfusions and even surgery to locate and stop the bleeding.
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from internal bleeding, it is important that you do not assume that the situation will resolve on its own. Internal bleeding can have serious and even life-threatening complications, making it critical to consult a doctor as soon as symptoms appear.
Internal bleeding is a serious, life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention in order to prevent organ damage. The fact is that there is no way to know whether or not internal bleeding is severe until testing has been done, so you should not assume that your symptoms will improve on their own.
Thusly, if you have symptoms indicating that you may have internal blooding, you should seek emergency medical attention. You should also be evaluated by a medical professional if you experience physical trauma (such as in a car accident), as your doctor may be able to detect internal bleeding before symptoms appear.
While internal bleeding is a frightening prospect, knowing the signs, causes, and internal bleeding stomach symptoms can help you know what to look for, ensuring that you are able to get proper medical attention as soon as possible. Feel free to contact us to learn more about the signs of hemorrhaging and whether your medical history may put you at an increased risk of internal bleeding.
Over the past 30 years, Dr. Merkel has been an integral part of our practice, prioritizing patient-centered care with his patients. Without your trust and confidence, Dr. Merkel would not have been able to pursue his passion for gastroenterology.
Our care team at Digestive Disease Center of NJ comprised of Alexander Rapisarda, MD, Scott Aronson, MD, William Ferges, MD, and Anna Platovsky, MD will continue to provide compassionate, high-quality, and comprehensive care.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at our:
Somerset office at
East Brunswick office at