Occult GI Bleeding

What is Occult GI Bleeding?

Occult GI bleeding (OGIB) is a medical term meaning “hidden or invisible gastrointestinal bleeding”. It refers to any bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach, small intestine, colon, or rectum, that is not visible. It can cause symptoms such as pain, bloody stool, and fatigue, but it can also occur without any symptoms at all.

Occult GI bleeding can occur for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Bowel cancer
  • Hemorrhagic conditions
  • Medication side effects

Diagnosing OGIB can be difficult as the source of the bleeding is often unknown. Initial tests may include blood tests to check for anemia, a physical exam, and imaging tests such as an endoscopy or a CT scan to look for any abnormalities in the digestive tract.

Treatment for OGIB depends on the cause of the bleeding and can range from dietary changes and medications to surgery. Prevention is key and involves avoiding any known risk factors, such as certain medications, alcohol, and smoking.