Treatment for GI Bleeding

How do doctors treat GI bleeding?

Treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding depends on the cause and location of your bleeding.

Treatment during a diagnostic procedure

During an upper GI endoscopy, a lower GI endoscopy, a colonoscopy, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, or a laparotomy, a doctor can stop the bleeding in your GI tract. He or she can stop the bleeding by inserting tools through an endoscope, colonoscope, or sigmoidoscope to

  • inject medicines into the bleeding site
  • treat the bleeding site and surrounding tissue with a heat probe, an electric current, or a laser
  • close affected blood vessels with a band or clip

During an angiogram, a radiologist can inject medicines or other materials into blood vessels to stop some types of bleeding.

Learn more about the procedures doctors use to diagnose GI bleeding.

Illustration of a torso and over top of that illustration, an illustration of a doctor conducting a colonoscopy
During certain diagnostic procedures, such as a colonoscopy, a doctor can stop GI bleeding


When infections or ulcers cause bleeding in your GI tract, health care professionals prescribe medicines to treat the problem.


When a person has severe acute bleeding or bleeding that does not stop, a surgeon may need to perform a laparoscopy or a laparotomy to stop the bleeding.

How can I prevent GI bleeding?

Doctors can prevent GI bleeding by treating the conditions that cause the bleeding. You can prevent some of the causes of bleeding in your GI tract by

Last Reviewed July 2016
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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.