Bleeding Varices: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/7/2020

Varices is a term (singular=varix) that describes abnormal, dilated blood vessels. They cause no symptoms until they rupture and bleed.

Signs and symptoms associated with bleeding varices can include

 Bleeding varices are a medical emergency, and the blood loss can be fatal.

Causes of bleeding varices

Varices are most common in the stomach and esophagus (known as esophageal varices), where they arise due to portal hypertension (an increase in blood pressure in the portal vein). Portal hypertension is usually caused by cirrhosis of the liver, which also has many causes including hepatitis infection, alcoholic liver disease, and primary biliary cirrhosis.

Other bleeding varices symptoms and signs

  • Bloating
  • Blood in the Stool
  • Dark Stool From Digested Blood
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Vomiting Blood


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.