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Signs and symptoms: Coughing up blood Hemoptysis

Coughing up blood Hemoptysis


Coughing up blood is the spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from the lungs and throat .

Alternative Names

Hemoptysis Spitting up blood Bloody sputum


Hemoptysis is the medical term for coughing up blood from the respiratory tract.

Coughing up blood is not the same as bleeding from the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract.

Blood that comes up with a cough often looks bubbly because it is mixed with air and mucus. It is usually bright red.


A number of conditions, diseases, and medical tests may make you cough up blood.

Diseases and conditions may include:

  • Bleeding gums such as with gingivitis
  • Blood clot in the lung
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Irritation of the throat from violent coughing
  • Nosebleed
  • Lung cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary aspiration
  • Pulmonary edema

Diagnostic tests that may make you cough up blood may include:

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Upper airway biopsy

Home Care

Cough suppressants may help if this condition is due to throat irritation from violent coughing. However, cough suppressants may lead airway obstruction in some cases. Always check with your doctor first.

It is very important to note how long you cough up blood. You should also keep track of the following:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Anxiety Bloody Or Red Colored Vomit Color Change And Difficulty Finding Words

Reviewed on 7/13/2021

These symptoms can be related to a number of different conditions. Bloody or red colored vomit can signal a medical emergency and warrants immediate medical attention. Difficulty finding words can occur with chronic conditions such as dementia. The sudden onset of difficulty finding words can be a sign of a stroke. The sudden onset of difficulty finding words requires immediate medical attention. Always discuss any troublesome symptoms with your doctor.

While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:

Some Types Of Bleeding From The Upper Gut

The type of bleeding is sometimes described as follows:

Dark blood. This is often referred to as a ‘coffee ground’ colour. This suggests that the bleed has been relatively slow. The blood has been in contact with stomach acid long enough for the acid to turn the blood a dark brown/red colour. The bleeding in this situation may not yet have been heavy. However, it may become heavy at a later time.

A large amount of bright red blood suggests a rapid and large bleed.

Melaena is the medical word for old, dark blood in stools . If you have melaena, your stools become very dark or black. There is often a tar-like consistency. Vomiting blood and having melaena are symptoms that often go together. Having both symptoms together means that you have had a lot of bleeding into the gut.

Other symptoms may occur at the same time as vomiting blood. For example, tummy pain, high temperature , feeling unwell, or other gut symptoms. If you lose a lot of blood, it can make you feel dizzy or even pass out. The presence and type of other symptoms may help to point to a cause of the bleeding. Sometimes there are no other symptoms at first.

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What Does It Mean When A Dog Vomits Granular Blood

The granules may be indicative of blood in the abdomen. Digested blood has the consistency of coffee grounds and is typically has a dark red to black coloring. Granular vomit may be a symptom of an ulcer. Your dogs body has a gastric mucus barrier that protects the organs from the gastric fluids. Gastric fluids are very acidic and have a pH of ~2.

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What To Look For When You Cough Up Blood

What Causes Blood in Phlegm in the Morning?

Blood that comes from the lungs or respiratory tract will often appear bubbly. This is because it mixes with air and mucus in the lungs.

The color can range from rust-colored to bright red. The mucus may be entirely tainted with blood or only contain streaks of blood mixed with mucus.

Bleeding from the mouth is not the same as coughing up blood. If youre bleeding from your mouth, you may notice it when brushing your teeth or after eating.

A number of different issues can cause a person to cough up blood, ranging from irritation of the throat to lung cancer.

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How Is Vomiting Diagnosed

If you need to see a doctor for vomiting, they will take your medical history and perform a physical exam to try to find the underlying cause. A history of your medication will be taken to see if vomiting is a side effect.

Blood and urine tests may be done to look for signs of infection. Women may also take a pregnancy test.

Your doctor will also look for signs of dehydration, including dry skin, cracked lips, dark-colored urine, dizziness, fatigue, and sweating and urinating more than usual, according to the National Institutes of Health .

What Does It Mean If A Cat Throws Up Blood

The technical term for vomiting blood is hematemesis. Depending where the bleeding originates, episodes may include fresh, bright red blood or partially digested blood that looks more like coffee grounds. Dark, tarry-looking stools may also be present and can be a sign of intestinal bleeding.

Note: Descriptions like these, or taking a picture with your phone, may help your veterinarian narrow down the underlying cause.

The blood may come from the stomach, esophagus , or upper intestines . Also, occasionally, severe bleeding in the mouth or respiratory tract may lead to a cat swallowing blood and then vomiting it back up. Bleeding may be caused by anything that leads to an injury, irritation, or inflammation of the lining of these organs.

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When To See A Doctor

A person who is coughing blood in large amounts, or at frequent intervals, should visit a doctor.

See a doctor or seek emergency care when coughing brings up a lot of blood, or any blood at frequent intervals.

If the blood is dark and appears with pieces of food, go to a hospital immediately. This can indicate a severe problem originating in the digestive tract.

Also, see a doctor if any of the following symptoms accompany blood in the sputum:

  • a loss of appetite
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • chest pain, dizziness, fever, or light-headedness
  • worsening shortness of breath

Spitting Up Blood Here May Be Why


Spitting up blood isnt always a sign of a life-threatening medical condition, but you should see a physician to rule out serious concerns. Depending on the cause, spitting up blood can also be accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloody stool, diarrhea, vomiting blood, dizziness, or fatigue. Here are some common causes of spitting up blood:

  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as esophagitis, gastritis, gingivitis, ulcers in the mouth, or peptic ulcers.
  • Respiratory tract problems, like nosebleed, congestive heart failure, lung infections, or collapsed lungs.
  • Severe or life-threatening conditions such as cancer, intestinal ulcers, internal trauma, or pulmonary edema.

If you are spitting up small amounts of blood for more than a week, or notice other symptoms such as weight loss, high, fever, and persistent pain, you should immediately visit FastMed Urgent Care. Our experienced medical staff is trained in adult and pediatric urgent care, and we are here to provide you with care 365 days a year.

If you are spitting up blood and having difficulty breathing, vomiting blood, or experiencing altered levels of consciousness, .

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Treatment And Medication Options For Vomiting

Treatment for nausea and vomiting depends on the underlying cause.

Most episodes of vomiting can be treated at home. Self-care measures you can take to treat vomiting include:

  • Drink plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration.
  • Adhere to a clear liquid diet to rest the stomach.
  • Avoid strong odors, including food and cooking smells, perfume, and smoke, that could possibly trigger vomiting.
  • When you begin eating solid food again, stick to bland foods that are easily digestible, like cereal, rice, and crackers.
  • Avoid spicy and fatty foods.

If you are planning a trip and have a history of motion sickness, try over-the-counter medications to treat the condition, like dimenhydrinate and meclizine. For longer journeys like cruises, your doctor may prescribe an adhesive patch to treat motion sickness.

Vomiting associated with cancer treatments can often be treated with another type of drug therapy.

There are also prescription and nonprescription drugs that can be used to control vomiting associated with pregnancy. These include vitamin B6 supplements, doxylamine, and a combination drug of doxylamine and pyridoxine.

Consult with a doctor before using any of these treatments.

Severe dehydration caused by vomiting may require treatment with intravenous fluids.

Symptoms Based On Site

Internal bleeding in specific regions of the body may also lead to other symptoms. These include:

Brain and Spinal Cord

Bleeding into the brain often causes a severe headache, nausea, and vomiting. Weakness on one side of the body or changes in vision may occur. As bleeding progresses, changes in mental status such as confusion and disorientation may occur, followed by loss of consciousness. Seizures may also occur.


Bleeding into the chest may cause a number of different symptoms depending on the specific location. Bleeding into the airways can cause a gasping cough. Coughing up blood , even just a teaspoon, is a medical emergency, and massive hemoptysis has a high mortality rate. Shortness of breath may occur with bleeding anywhere in the chest.

Bleeding between the membranes that surround the heart can restrict the motion of the heart, causing cardiac tamponade.

When a lung is punctured and collapses , bruising may be noted diffusely on the chest and neck. The skin over the neck and upper abdomen may also feel crinkly, like bubble wrap, due the presence of air in the subcutaneous tissues. With blood in the chest , pain usually changes significantly when people move into different positions.


Certainly, bleeding into the esophagus or stomach may induce vomiting blood, while bleeding in the lower digestive tract may cause rectal bleeding.

Retroperitoneal Area

Bones, Joints, and Muscles

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How To Treat The Symptoms

Depending on the cause, coughing up blood can be treated in several ways. If the culprit is simple throat irritation due to excessive coughing, over-the-counter throat lozenges and cough suppressants may be enough.

The goals for treatment is to first stop the bleeding, especially large amounts, and then treat the underlying cause. If an infection is the cause, your doctor may prescribe medication.

In cases of severe bleeding, youll need to go to the hospital. A doctor may recommend a procedure known as endovascular embolization that stops bleeding. Other procedures or surgeries may be necessary depending on the cause.

Related Conditions To Vomiting

Coughing Up Blood

While most people experience vomiting in their lives that is not dangerous and goes away fairly quickly, certain conditions are characterized by severe and repetitive vomiting.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe kind of morning sickness that causes extreme, excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Approximately 3 percent of pregnant women suffer from this condition. It can lead to weight loss and dehydration that require treatment to keep your baby safe.

Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a rare disorder that is also characterized by severe nausea and vomiting, though it can affect anyone from children to adults. People with this condition experience a cyclical pattern of severe vomiting that lasts from a few hours to several days, followed by a period of time that is free from severe nausea and vomiting.

The exact cause of cyclic vomiting syndrome is unknown, but researchers have identified an association with the condition and migraines. Therapies to treat cyclic vomiting syndrome vary by individual but can include anti-migraine medications, anti-vomiting medications, and bed rest, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

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Congestive Heart Failure 101

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart cant pump enough blood to meet the demands of your body. This impairment can result from a number of preexisting cardiac disorders, which can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Edema
  • Wheezing or chronic coughing

Due to the hearts inability to effectively pump blood, any returning circulation from the heart to the lungs can get backed up. This can lead to pulmonary congestion hence, the name congestive heart failure. Its also the primary reason behind chronic coughing.

What Does It Mean When You Have Blood In Your Sputum

Blood in the sputum or mucus when a person coughs or spits is called hemoptysis. Although the blood can be worrying, it is usually not a cause for concern, especially in young or otherwise healthy people. Blood in the sputum is a common event in many mild respiratory conditions, including upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and asthma.

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If You Are Spitting Blood Get Yourself Checked Out

Spitting blood may not seem like a big deal, and in reality, it might not be. You may have just brushed your teeth too roughly or not enough. You may just have a small sinus infection. But as weve pointed out, blood in your spit could also be the first signs of something very serious that needs your attention right away. If you begin to notice bloody sputum on a regular basis, go see a doctor.

Dr. Chris, Blood in Saliva: Causes of Bloody Spit, Saliva, Health Hype, , last accessed April 6, 2017.Spitting Blood, Health Grades, , last accessed April 6, 2017.Mammadli, R., Blood in Saliva, Health Recovery, , last accessed April 6, 2017.Gotter, A., What Causes Blood Tinged Sputum? 25 Possible Conditions, Healthline, , last accessed April 6, 2017.

Why You Might Be Coughing Up Blood

What Causes me to Cough up Blood?

Coughing up blood means expelling bloody sputum from the lungs. Sometimes people spit up blood, which is not the same thing as . Spitting up blood can mean spitting out bloody saliva due to an injury or , or it might mean up stomach contents with blood in them. These situations should be assessed and treated accordingly.

But bloody sputum originates in the lungs and can only be expelled through coughing. Although it can look scary, you might cough up blood for many non-emergent reasons including:

  • After a medical procedure like bronchoscopy

  • Pneumonia

  • Ruptured blood vessel in the throat due to violent coughing

While each of these may warrant a trip to your primary healthcare provider, they dont necessarily require emergency care unless they meet a few other criteria.

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Tests That May Be Needed

Your GP may decide to refer you to a specialist at your local hospital for a chest X-ray or a more detailed scan, such as a computerised tomography scan.

You may be asked for a sample of your sputum so it can be checked for infection. Other tests, such as blood tests, may also be needed.

In some cases, further tests may be required to find out where the blood is coming from. For example, you may be referred to a specialist who may decide to arrange a test called a bronchoscopy .

This page can give you a better idea of what the cause may be, but don’t use it to diagnose yourself. Always leave that to a doctor.

Causes Of Spitting Up Blood In The Morning

You may be spitting blood in morning for a number of different reasons. Here is a list of more common causes.

1. Injury or Trauma

Injury and trauma are usually the least serious causes of producing blood. This may happen due to an injury or trauma to your gums and teeth. Sometimes, you damage a tooth or gum tissue by grinding during sleep. Your gums will bleed and you will notice blood when you spit in the morning. You may also notice blood because of drainage that may occur with sinus infection. This will cause dryness and make sensitive tissues found in your throat to bleed.

2. Drug Use

You may be spitting up blood in the morning because you use certain types of illicit drugs. Several drugs can have a negative impact on your respiratory system, especially the drugs that you snort, smoke, or inhale. This, in many cases, causes bleeding even after several hours of drug use. If drug use is the cause of concern here, you may notice blood daily when you wake up in the morning. It is worth mentioning that some prescription medications such as blood thinners and anticoagulant medications can cause hemoptysis.

3. Smoking

You are more likely to be a victim of lung cancer if you smoke heavily, and it may also be the underlying cause why you spit up blood in the morning. Many people don’t realize how damaging the effect of smoking is on the tissues of their respiratory system. Those damaged tissues may bleed and you notice blood in mucus and phlegm.

4. Pulmonary Embolism

5. Others

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What Exactly Does It Mean To Cough Up Bloodand How Worrisome Is It

Coughing up blood is the spitting up of blood or bloody mucus from the lungs and throat, according to the US National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus resource. It should be noted that blood that comes up with a cough often looks bubbly, since it’s mixed with air and mucus. Per MedlinePlus, the blood can appear bright red or rust-colored, and may only show up as streaks in mucus.

Hemoptysis may occur in a variety of diseases, according to Gregory Cosgrove, MD, PFF, chief medical officer for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. But it’s important to note that it’s not always indicative of serious disease: The amount/rate of blood expectorated and the presence of associated symptoms such as breathlessness, low oxygenation , or even changes in blood pressure , all factor into the seriousness of coughing up blood.

According to MedlinePlus, a number of conditions, diseases, and even medical tests and medications can make a person cough up blood. A few include: bronchitis, lung cancer, pneumonia, irritation of the throat from violent coughing, tuberculosis, a bronchoscopy, or even blood-thinning drugs.

Hemoptysis in general is never a symptom you should ignore , but “typically, patients cough up small flecks of blood intermixed with phlegm,” says Dr. Cosgrve. At that point, your doctor may tell you to manage symptoms to help minimize heavy coughing, but to keep track of how long you cough up blood and how much blood is mixed with mucus.

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