Vomiting blood is a medical emergency – it means there is bleeding somewhere in your gullet, stomach or the first part of your bowel. You should see your doctor immediately.
The amount and colour of blood can vary:
It's important not to get rid of the vomit. Your doctor will have a much better idea of what's wrong if they can view a sample of it.
Unless you are perfectly well and the cause is obvious to your doctor (for example, swallowing blood from a nosebleed), you should be admitted straight to hospital for tests. These include blood tests and an endoscopy (where a thin, flexible tube is passed into your body via your throat – to examine the inside of your digestive tract).
It is important to be certain that you have vomited up the blood (it has come from your stomach or gullet) and not coughed it up from your airways or lungs, which would indicate a completely different problem. Read about coughing up blood.
The rest of this page summarizes the most likely causes of blood in the vomit, which is known medically as hematemesis. It is a rough guide that should give you a better idea of the problem, but do not use it to diagnose yourself – always leave that to your doctor.
The most common causes of blood in the vomit are:
The above conditions may also cause you to have blood in your stools (black, tarry poo).
Less commonly, vomit in the blood may be a result of:
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.