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Mallory-Weiss Syndrome


Mallory-Weiss syndrome

is a condition that causes a tear in the tissue where your esophagus and stomach meet. The tear causes bleeding that may be mild or severe. Anything that causes forceful vomiting or retching can cause a tear. Movements that cause straining or an injury to your abdomen can also cause a tear.

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Blood in your vomit or bowel movements
  • Material that looks like coffee grounds in your vomit
  • Dark, tarry bowel movements
  • Pain in your upper abdomen or your back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak, dizzy, or faint
  • Pale skin

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are confused or less alert than usual.
  • Your heartbeat or breathing is faster than usual.
  • You are lightheaded, dizzy, or faint.
  • You are sweating and your skin is pale.
  • Your lips or fingernails are blue.
  • You are urinating little or not at all.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


may not be needed. Most tears heal on their own within 48 hours. You may need treatment if you lose a large amount of blood or the bleeding does not stop. You may need any of the following:

  • Endoscopy may be used to stop the bleeding. Your healthcare provider may place clips or bands to hold the tear closed so it can heal. He may instead inject medicine or use an electric current to stop the bleeding.
  • Fluids may be given through an IV if you lose a large amount of blood or become dehydrated.
  • A blood transfusion may be needed if you lose a large amount of blood.
  • Surgery may be needed to repair the tear if other treatments do not work.

Manage or prevent Mallory-Weiss syndrome:

  • Rest as needed. Rest will help your body heal. Your healthcare provider may recommend bedrest to prevent movement that can cause or worsen a tear.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about all of your medicines. Do not take aspirin or NSAID medicines. These medicines can cause stomach bleeding. They can also thin your blood and keep your blood from clotting normally. Talk to your healthcare provider about any prescription anticoagulant (blood thinning) medicines you take.
  • Drink more liquids as directed. Liquids help prevent dehydration. You may need to replace body fluid you lost from vomiting or blood loss. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Limit or do not drink alcohol as directed. Alcohol increases your risk for a Mallory-Weiss tear. Alcohol use over a long period can cause liver damage. Liver damage also increases your risk for a tear. Ask your healthcare provider if alcohol is safe for you to drink. If you are going to drink alcohol, do not drink large amounts at one time. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day if you are a man or 1 drink a day if you are a woman. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you should eat soft foods while you heal. Examples of soft foods include applesauce, yogurt, and oatmeal. Do not eat foods that may scratch or irritate your esophagus or stomach. Some examples are crackers, nuts, spicy foods, and citrus fruits such as oranges.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a specialist to check for more bleeding or damage. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Mallory-Weiss Syndrome (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.