Coffee Ground Emesis

Does Coffee Cause Coffee Ground Emesis? Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment

What is coffee ground emesis?

Coffee ground emesis or coffee ground vomitus is vomit that resembles ground coffee. The name emanates from vomit that resembles grounded coffee. However, it has no connection with coffee and this condition. The color of vomit ranges from red, dark red, and dark depending on how the blood has stayed on the gastrointestinal tract. 

In case you are experiencing this kind of vomiting, you should treat it as an emergency case. This is because there are different causes of emesis, some of which can be life-threatening. 

What causes coffee ground emesis? 

Well, there are different causes that lead to this condition. However, blood in the vomit indicates internal bleeding, especially on the upper GI. It is, therefore, essential to seek a medical examination once you spot coffee-like grounds blood in your vomit. 

The top causes of coffee ground vomitus include; 

Does vomit color indicate the severity of the condition? 

Typically, ground coffee vomit results in different colors. Red means blood is still fresh, while dark blood means the blood could be in the GI for some time. Thus, if you have been asking, is black vomit serious? The answer is that any blood spots in vomits should raise concerns.

Can bowel obstruction cause coffee ground emesis? 

Bowel obstruction can cause the body to respond differently through diarrhea or vomiting. However, bowel obstruction can’t cause ground coffee emesis. Instead, the condition can lead to dark red poop, and upper GI can lead to tarry poop. 

coffee emesis bowel obstruction

When to see a doctor? 

Usually, if you have this condition, like other illnesses, it manifests in different symptoms. Of course, blood in the vomit is the main one, but others might accompany it. Apart from the ground coffee vomit, these symptoms might manifest; 

  • Jaundice (yellow pigmentation in eyes) 
  • Sharp abdominal pain 
  • Severe chest pain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Confusion 

In case you experience these symptoms, it’s recommendable to seek medical attention promptly.

How is coffee ground emesis diagnosed and treated?


One indicator of your GI bleeding is the presence of blood in the vomit. However, you need more examination by a medical expert to know the condition’s root cause. 

In case there is active bleeding, the practitioner will work to stabilize the condition. This is done by singling out the cause of bleeding through a medical examination. If the vomiting had occurred earlier, you can take pictures of vomit with blood and show your doctor. 

During the diagnosis, a medical officer will examine the presence of these symptoms; 

Upon examining symptoms, a doctor might prescribe further internal examination to ascertain the real cause of the condition. The first test doctors will perform is Gastric occult blood testing. This test reveals whether blood is present in the vomit. Also, Basic metabolic panels monitor your general body health condition. 

In most instances, doctors will also require an X-ray to show the condition of your upper GI and your stomach. 

Apart from the X-rays, others like colonoscopy, endoscopy, and liver function tests might be conducted. These tests aim to be conclusive and assertive of the real cause of ground coffee vomitus. 


Depending on the outcome of the tests, the doctor can now recommend the treatment procedure. The first step is to identify the cause of the bleeding to stop it. 

Treatment is possible during the examination process for some uncomplicated conditions. For instance, in case of a ruptured vein, the doctor might stop bleeding by injecting a chemical or clamping during endoscopy. 

In case of ulcers emanating from Helicobacter pylori, the doctor will prescribe the H, pylori kit, and other medicines. However, the doctor can use endoscopy to cauterize ulcers and stop bleeding before taking medication. 

It is not always the case that the problem is in the upper GI. If the colon is where the problem originates, the doctor can use a colonoscopy to fix the ulcers and stop bleeding. 

Most of the time, upper GI bleeding stops itself. But, in rare cases, if it doesn’t, the doctor might recommend a laparoscopy, a low-risk surgery invasive procedure. 

 The procedure involves a small incision on the stomach and a device known as a laparoscope inserted. The device gives in-depth examination, helps doctors determine the cause of bleeding, and offers treatment. 


Gastrointestinal tract bleeding is a serious condition that needs prompt action. If you experience Coffee Ground Emesis, don’t wait, as the condition might worsen. Taking a step right away is all I can recommend avoiding further complications. With the proper intervention, the condition is easy to treat. 

Scroll to Top