Blood in the saliva may occur due to bleeding in the respiratory tract or the gastric system. It may indicate infection, injury or cancer; and needs prompt diagnosis and timely treatment.
Seeing blood in the saliva is quite frightening and distressing; it may or may not be linked to a serious condition.
What Are The Causes Of Traces Of Blood In Saliva?
Gastrointestinal disorders which can cause blood to manifest in the saliva include:
- Gingivitis or an inflammation of the gums.
- Esophagitis or an inflammation of the esophagus.
- Gastritis or an inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
- Recently done tooth extraction.
- Mouth ulcers
- Peptic ulcers
Respiratory tract disorders which can cause blood in saliva include:
- Collapsed lung
- Inflammation of the airways.
- Congestive heart failure, causing leakage of blood through the lungs.
Life threatening conditions which can cause blood to appear in the saliva are:
- Esophageal varices – varicose vein like condition in the esophagus.
- Cancer of the mouth.
- Malignancy of the esophagus.
- Nasopharyngeal malignancy.
- Bleeding from stomach cancer.
- Bleeding from lung cancer.
- A perforated peptic ulcer.
- Build-up of fluids in the lungs due to congestive heart failure.
Treatment Options For Blood In Saliva
Rare cases of bleeding from the mouth and gums causing blood to appear in the saliva can be effectively managed by good oral hygiene. On the other hand, serious causes call for more intensive medical care. You need to talk with your health care provider as well as chest or GI specialist to understand the precise cause.
- Bleeding from the GI tract: This is diagnosed using an endoscope, wherein a minimally invasive gadget having a camera is introduced in to the mouth to the esophagus and in to the stomach. When the cause for bleeding in the GI tract has been identified, treatment can be done using the endoscope. Active bleeding in the upper segments of the GI tract is successfully dealt with using heat to cauterize; injecting chemicals in to the afflicted area using a needle; or clipping / occluding a bleeding blood vessel. In case the bleeding cannot be stopped, surgical intervention becomes necessary immediately. A recurrence of bleeding needs to be warded off by taking certain medications. Follow-ups with the doctor are vital.
- Bleeding from the respiratory system: Infections such as – pneumonia or tuberculosis in the lungs are managed using antibiotics. Bleeding in the respiratory system is examined, assessed and treated via a bronchoscopy. To put a stop to active bleeding, a balloon may be inflated at the site. A bleeding bronchial artery may be occluded using metal coils by a procedure known as embolization. Severe bleeding in the lungs calls for resection of the lung or peumonectomy.
- Cancer in the GI tractor respiratory tract: It is treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy as well as surgical intervention.
- Transfusion of blood: Those who lose huge quantities of blood need transfusion of blood and / or other special medicines to decrease the loss of blood.