gastric varices

What Are Gastric Varices?

Gastir varices are dilated veins in the lower part of the esophagus or stomach, and they can be a precursor to an esophageal bleed or hemorrhage. When the veins around the lower esophagus and stomach become enlarged, they are known as gastric varices. They are often a result of portal hypertension, caused by liver cirrhosis or other liver diseases.

Who Is at Risk?

Patients with a history of portal hypertension, cirrhosis, or other liver diseases are at risk for developing gastric varices. Cirrhosis occurs when the liver tissue becomes scarred, damaging the liver and preventing it from functioning properly. Portal hypertension is caused by a reduction in the blood flow in and out of the liver.

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Diagnosis of Gastric Varices

Gastric varices can be diagnosed with a variety of imaging tests such as an upper endoscopy, a CT scan, or an abdominal ultrasound. The endoscopy involves a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light on the end, which is inserted into the patient’s stomach. The CT scan or ultrasound imaging is conducted similarly, but with the use of X-rays.

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Treatment for Gastric Varices

The primary treatment for gastric varices is to reduce the risk of bleeding by controlling the portal hypertension. This may include medications such as beta blockers or vasoconstrictors, as well as lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol consumption. Patients may also benefit from endoscopic band ligation or sclerotherapy. Endoscopic band ligation involves placing an elastic band around the base of the varices to stop the bleeding, while sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the varices to seal them off and prevent bleeding. In the most severe cases, surgery may be recommended.

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Living With Gastric Varices

Gastric varices can be life-threatening and can cause serious bleeding if not managed properly. Therefore, it is essential to speak with your healthcare provider to understand your risk and the steps you can take to reduce the risk of bleeding.


  • gastric varices
  • portal hypertension
  • liver cirrhosis
  • endoscopy
  • CT scan
  • abdomimal ultrasound
  • beta blockers
  • vasoconstrictors
  • endoscopic band ligation
  • sclerotherapy
  • surgery