• Mallory Weiss Syndrome


    Mallory-Weiss Syndrome is a tear in the lining of the lower esophagus or upper stomach where they meet. The esophagus is a tube that connects your mouth and stomach.
    When these tears bleed they can pass blood down into the digestive system or upwards with vomit. These tears will most often heal on their own but some may require additional care.


    Mallory Weiss tears are caused by too much pressure in the abdomen. This can be caused by:
    • Prolonged vomiting
    • Intense coughing
    • Intense physical activities like seizures or childbirth
    • Direct trauma to the area

    Risk Factors

    Certain factors may increase your chance of Mallory Weiss tears. These include conditions that may induce intense vomiting or increased pressure in stomach such as:


    If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume they are due to Mallory Weiss tears. Other things may cause these symptoms. Tell your doctor if you have:
    • Blood in vomit
    • Vomit that looks like coffee ground
    • Black, tarry stool
    • Blood in the stool
    Sometimes, bleeding from the tears can occur suddenly and be severe. You may notice symptoms like:
    • Weakness
    • Lightheadness or faintness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Abdominal pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Paleness
    Bleeding that is light and occurs over a long period of time may make you feel tired and short of breath.


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You may also be asked if you noticed the blood after vomiting, retching or seizures. A physical exam will also be done.
    To determine the location, cause, and amount of your bleeding your doctor may take a:
    • Complete blood count
    • Stool test—to check for blood in the stool
    • Upper GI endoscopy—a thin, lighted tube is inserted down the throat to examine the digestive tract and collect tissue samples
    • Nasogastric lavage—a tube placed through the nose and into the stomach removes contents to check for bleeding
    • Angiography—an x-ray of the blood vessels, that may also be used as treatment


    Mallory Weiss tears will often heal by themselves without treatment.
    If the tear is severe your doctor may recommend further treatment. You may need surgery to close the tear or a blood transfusion for excessive blood loss.


    Angiography can control bleeding. The angiography will help locate the bleeding. The doctor will then inject medications or other materials into the blood vessels. These medications will control the bleeding until the tear can heal.


    Endoscopy can also be used to stop bleeding. An endoscope is a tube that is placed into the mouth and passed through the esophagus. Your doctor can stop the bleeding by several methods including:
    • Injecting chemicals into the bleeding site
    • Using a heat probe, electric current, or laser to seal off the bleeding site
    • Using a band or clip to close off blood vessels


    To help reduce your chance of Mallory Weiss tears:
    • Avoid excess alcohol use
    • Treat conditions that cause excessive coughing or vomiting


    American College of Gastroenterology http://gi.org

    American Gastroenterological Association http://www.gastro.org


    HealthLink BC http://www.healthlinkbc.ca

    C-Health http://chealth.canoe.ca


    Acute upper nonvariceal gastrointestinal bleeding. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905671/Acute-upper-nonvariceal-gastrointestinal-bleeding. Updated January 14, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

    Bleeding in the digestive tract. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/bleeding-in-the-digestive-tract/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed July 2012.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.