for Veterans and the Public
Bleeding varices (internal bleeding)
Large blood vessels (varices) in the food tube get bigger and bigger over time and can burst open. When this happens, you may vomit blood or notice your stool is black and tarry. If either of these things happens, you should go to the emergency room immediately to get help and stop the bleeding.
The risk of bleeding from varices can be reduced by taking special blood pressure medicines (called beta-blockers) or by a special procedure in which tiny rubber bands are tied around the varices.
If you vomit blood or your stool turns black and tarry, you should go to the emergency room immediately. These are signs that varices may have begun to bleed, and this can be life-threatening.