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Mallory-Weiss Syndrome

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.

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.


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.

Call your doctor if:

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


  • Medicines may be given to lower the amount of acid your stomach makes. You may also be given medicine to control vomiting and nausea.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

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 doctor 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.

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